On Thanksgiving Day, two Twin Cities filmmakers—the son of a Somali imam and daughter of a white Baptist preacher—fall in love through their lenses and discover that their lives and families are mirror images.
When Faysal (30) and Bettina (40) meet in a camera store, their painful Thanksgiving plans are pleasantly interrupted by love at first sight. They dive into a lively discussion of life, love and their personal filmmaking styles. As children of clergy, they’re consumed by questions of doubt and faith in their family traditions, and in their common language of Cinema.
As they compare their films and lives, they confess their intimate reasons for buying new cameras. Faysal’s father is dying and confided only in him. His father is a former imam who was ousted from his mosque over Faysal’s marriage plans. Despite years of contention, Faysal longs to reconcile, and is attending his mother’s Thanksgiving dinner where he hopes to film his father. Before he goes, he’s cooking a turkey to contribute as the most “American” of his family.
Bettina bought her camera to make a confessional video explaining her life and regrets to her family back in Kansas. She hasn’t spoken to them in years, and doesn’t think it’s possible. But, like Faysal, she longs for a reconciliation. That will prove difficult, since her Baptist preacher father kicked her out in high school. Before meeting Faysal, Bettina was planning to make her video, then join some friends at an orphans’ Thanksgiving.
As the lovers’ plans converge, so do their Thanksgiving film projects, revealing unexpected truths as they remove their camera masks and step in front of each other’s lenses. In filming each other, they see themselves. But the closer they become, the more their families begin to intervene. Their little brothers are spying on them, angered at their worldly ways. Faysal is angry to be judged by his little brother whose condemnations rekindle his own self-judgement. Bettina also judges herself harshly, still anguished over the family she left long ago.
Faysal invites Bettina to dinner at his parents’ apartment, and she accepts. Little does she know her family has tracked her down, her mother intent on reuniting her estranged children. Soon, the two families are thrown together for an impromptu meeting of cultures and rituals that will test their love and belief. In the end, it is Cinema itself that expresses hope–that a story of sad love might begin again and go a different way, a better way.