The Feeling of Being Watched


The Feeling of Being Watched

When a filmmaker investigates rumors of surveillance in her Arab-American neighborhood in Chicago, she uncovers one of the largest FBI terrorism probes conducted before 9/11 and reveals its enduring impact on the community.

A Documentary about Pre-911 Surveillance of Muslim American Communities

Written, Directed & Produced by Assia Boundaoui

Produced by Jessica Devaney

While investigating her neighbors’ experiences, Assia uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11, code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” Through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter her investigation became the documentary “The Feeling of Being Watched”.

Screenings of “The Feeling of Being Watched” took place Friday, February 15 in Toronto as part of the Habibiz exhibit and on Saturday, March 2 in London, Ontario. Filmmaker Assia Boundaoui spoke at the London, Ontario screening.

With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened and takes the FBI to federal court to compel them to make the records they collected about her community public.

Assia is an Algerian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Chicago. She has reported for the BBC, NPR, PRI, Al Jazeera, VICE, and CNN. Her debut short film about hijabi hair salons for the HBO LENNY documentary series premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.


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