Acting, directing, producing—these Assyrians do it all and more for the big screen. Some of these stars have made their mark on Hollywood, while others are on the rise.
F. Murray Abraham
Known for his iconic roles in films like Scarface (1983) and Amadeus (1984)—the latter earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor for his leading role as Antonio Salieri. Abraham has appeared in many roles, including on television where he currently stars on the series Homeland. The 78-year-old actor landed an Emmy nomination this year for his role in the show. Murray’s father was an Assyrian immigrant from Syria.
Rosie Malek-Yonan has appeared in dozens of films and television series throughout the course of her career. She starred opposite Reese Witherspoon in Rendition (2007). She has also appeared in several documentaries on the challenges facing modern Assyrians as part of her ongoing human rights advocacy. In 2006, she wrote, directed, and co-produced a documentary called My Assyrian Nation on the Edge, and rumors are circulating that Malek-Yonan is directing and producing a new film on Assyrians. Malek-Yonan was born in Tehran, Iran to Assyrian parents.
Pursuing a career in entertainment outside of traditional means, Inanna Sarkis got her start on YouTube, where she’s amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers to her videos. In October 2017, the 25-year-old actress made her big screen debut starring as Gabriella in Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. Sarkis’s father is Assyrian and her mother is Bulgarian.
Behind the Camera
Terrence Malick is an Oscar-nominated film director, screenwriter, and producer. He has received three Academy Award nominations over the course of his career, including for Best Director for The Thin Red Line (1998) and The Tree of Life (2011). The 74-year-old has worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Jessica Chastain—to name a few. Malick’s father was Assyrian.
Kamelya Alexan is an up-and-coming filmmaker who has produced and directed two short films. She’s also worked on the set of major Hollywood blockbusters, including Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and The Dark Knight (2008) as part of the production crew. Alexan was born to Assyrian parents.