DETROIT UNLEADED is a fresh, funny, and heartfelt take on the boy-meets-girl comedy. When an ambitious young man, Sami (E.J. Assi), is forced to take over his family’s gas station in Detroit after the shooting death of his father, his life changes in unexpected ways. Behind the bulletproof glass, Sami reluctantly runs the family business with his cousin (Mike Batayeh, “Breaking Bad”), a charismatic hustler with dreams of expanding their struggling business into an unleaded empire.

Within this unique Detroit neighborhood, their gas station becomes more than just a pit stop for rolling papers and fake perfume, but a place where a steady stream of unforgettable characters come and go with humor and heart. When a gorgeous "up-do girl" named Najlah (Nada Shouhayib) comes to deliver cheap long-distance phone cards, Sami quickly falls for her. Afraid her overprotective brother Fadi will disapprove, Najlah begins an under-the-counter romance with Sami and his shift becomes anything but routine.

 
 
 
[Nashef] has created a surprisingly affecting examination of one aspect of the Arab-American experience: the dissonance between American hookup culture and home-country traditions.
— Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times
 
 
 
 
With Nashef’s natural humor and the film’s strong acting performances, there are several moments of comedic brilliance... the tender moments on screen mark Nashef as a director to watch.
— Ariston Anderson, Filmmaker Magazine

Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Rola Nashef, who was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Cinema”, DETROIT UNLEADED reflects her own experiences and observations as a member of the Lebanese and Arab American community of Detroit (one of the largest in the world, outside of the Middle East). Nashef was also awarded the Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award at the Toronto Film Festival, where the film premiered to rave reviews. The charming cast includes newcomers E.J. Assi and Nada Shouhayib, along with Mike Batayeh (“Breaking Bad”) and Lebanese icon Akram El-Ahmar.

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