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#300 - A Tale of Cancellation

A Conversation with Meg Smaker

October 12, 2022

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Sam Harris speaks with Meg Smaker about the controversy around her documentary, "The Unredacted (Jihad Rehab)." They discuss her background as a firefighter; the effect that 9/11 had on the firefighting community; her subsequent adventures in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia; the deprogramming of jihadists; the organized campaign to silence her film; the capitulations Sundance, SXSW, and other festivals; and other topics.

Before becoming a filmmaker, Meg Smaker served as a firefighter for over a half-decade. She spent almost 10 years living and working in the Middle East, five of them in Yemen, where she learned Arabic and studied Islam while teaching firefighting to Yemeni men.

As a filmmaker, Meg explores controversial subjects from unorthodox viewpoints. Her films have won numerous awards, including Best Short Documentary at SXSW (South By Southwest) and a Student Academy Award. Her film, Boxeadora, received critical acclaim as “one of the best boxing films of all time” by Paste Magazine. Meg was also featured in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Gen” issue as one of the film industry's most promising new nonfiction filmmakers, and just this year Filmmaker Magazine named her one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” Meg’s most recent film, Jihad Rehab—her début feature-length documentary—premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Meg received an MFA in Documentary Film from Stanford University, Graduate Certificate from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a BA with honors in Political, Legal, and Economic Analysis (PLEA) from Mills College.



Twitter: @Meighon


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