Film poster for "Time For Ilhan" with woman holding her hand up.
Film poster for "Time For Ilhan" with woman holding her hand up.
One woman’s quest to become the first Somali Muslim lawmaker in the United States


Regular price $249.00


​OUTSTANDING DIRECTING SPECIAL CLASS - Daytime Emmy® Creative Arts Awards | RECOMMENDED ★★★ - Video Librarian | HBO AUDIENCE AWARD FEATURE DOCUMENTARY - Provincetown Film Festival

Politics • Women's Studies • Sociology • American Studies • Islamic Studies • Leadership

Date of Completion: 2018 | Run Time: 89 and 61 minute version available Language: English & Somali with English Subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript & Discussion Guide Director & Producer: Norah Shapiro | Producers: Jennifer Steinman & Chris Newberry

Ilhan Omar, a young, hijab-wearing mother of three, takes on two formidable opponents in a highly contested race for a seat in the Minnesota State Legislature. If successful, she will become the first Somali-American lawmaker in the United States. Similar to the classic tale of David and Goliath, Omar, who is up against a 43-year incumbent, is the "outsider"- a Muslim, refugee, woman of color - seeking to challenge the party’s status quo while simultaneously defying lingering gender norms within her own Muslim community.

TIME FOR ILHAN is an Emmy® Award-winning documentary that shadows Ilhan and her scrappy group of dedicated campaign staffers throughout the entire campaign’s dramatic uphill battle. A fresh and timely take on the old story of the American Dream, the film offers an inspiring, stereotype-busting portrait of the rise of one of America’s brightest new political stars, and a vision of what is truly possible for women and New Americans in politics today.

Video Librarian ★★★
K. Fennessy
"Shapiro clearly and compassionately presents her subject—an admittedly controversial figure in the news—as a born leader whose grassroots campaign spoke to a state’s underserved communities. Recommended."

Booklist Candace Smith
"Intriguing inside look at grassroots politics."

Atiya Aftab, Adjunct Professor Rutgers University, Department of Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies Program, & Co-Founder Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom
"Time for Ilhan is an inspiring film for the next generation of American politicians. It has specifically energized women, women of color and Muslim women that they too can beat the odds and take their place in our representative democracy. Norah Shapiro beautifully captured Ilhan’s rocky journey from an unknown refugee to winning a state government seat. The film is particularly timely given Ilhan’s surprising trajectory to the national stage and her place as one of the first Muslim women, first refugee and a women of color to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives."

University of Southern California Professor Evelyn Alsultany, Department of American Studies and Ethnicity
"Time for Ilhan is a moving and inspiring story about how this Somali Muslim refugee is changing the political landscape in the United States today. It will stimulate an important conversation about the historic lack of diversity in U.S. politics and what it takes to create a truly representative democracy."

Common Sense Media | Renee Schonfeld
"Norah Shapiro's good fortune (or clairvoyance) in opting to film Ilhan Omar's first run for office has resulted in the inspirational story of an underdog candidate on her way to national prominence. And, despite the fact that the outcome is well-known, both the situations and the adept filmmaking have made the journey suspenseful. Released in a culture of fear of "the other," the movie also serves to give viewers an enlightened portrait of an Islamic woman: her devotion to family, community, and her faith. Ilhan herself proves to be a formidable politician despite her delicate stature, likability, and the newness of her venture. Ilhan's kids couldn't be more 'All-American' or more adorable. Best of all, the movie is a jubilant salute to the landmark diversity of the 2018 U.S. elections."

eFilmCritic | Peter Sobczynski
"The film also provides viewers with a direct view of the nuts-and-bolts of a grassroots political campaign in the modern election age that could be shown in many political science classes."

Film Journal
"Leaves little doubt about what immigrants, especially diaspora survivors, have historically contributed to our democracy."

Mountain Film
"Time for Ilhan is a virtual guide to how a grassroots campaign can further the restoration of American democracy, at least in a diversifying urban district."

NONFICS | Brad Gullickson
"Shapiro’s documentary acts as a bullhorn, howling a rallying cry for others to join the cause and fear inaction over defeat."

Award for Outstanding Directing Special Class | Daytime Emmy® Creative Arts Awards
HBO Audience Award Feature Documentary | Provincetown Film Festival
Best U.S. Feature Documentary | Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Audience Award Duluth Superior International Film Festival
Vision Award Nominee | NAMIC
Image Award Nominee | NAACP

Tribeca Film Festival
Hot Docs Film Festival
Telluride Mountain Film Festival
Traverse City Film Festival
Rocky Mountain Women’s Festival
Hamptons International Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
Twin Cities International Film Festival
Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
Athens International Film Festival
Take One Action International Film Festival
St. Louis International Film Festival
Milwaukee International Film Festival
Globe Docs Film Festival
Flyway Film Festival
United Nations Association Documentary Film Festival
Global Peace Festival

University of Chicago
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University of Washington
Walker Art Center Cinema
Minneapolis Film Society
New Florida Majority
YEO Network