They say to never judge a book by its cover because looks can be deceiving. Joe Potay is about to find out just how deceiving looks can be in Nicole Ballivian’s provocative short Joe & The Shawl.
Based on a true story by Deonna Kelli Sayed, Joe & The Shawl proposes what might happen when a person with a very staunch system of beliefs is confronted with someone who challenges them. What is the consequence when every preconception about who someone is doesn’t match up with the reality? Does a lifetime of learned prejudice take over, or does understanding and profound concern open the door to tolerance?
“…in Kelli’s ID picture, she is wearing a hijab…Joe is confused…”
Kelli (Jill Galbraith) is having car trouble, and mechanic Joe Potay (Travis Lincoln Cox) comes to the rescue. Kelli, who possesses the freshly-scrubbed appearance of an Ivory Snow model, and Joe, your standard-issue hunky mechanic fantasy come to life, immediately begin a sly flirtation. Kelli and Joe’s interaction is cute and innocent; if this were a romantic comedy, we’d have a heartwarming meet-cute.
We know that eventually, something is going to disrupt this coy interplay because a) if something doesn’t there would not be a movie, and b) the ringtone from Kelli’s phone resembles the Muslim call to prayer, which startles the hell out of Joe. He questions, “Is that some kind of Indian Tarzan alarm or something?”
But the flirtation continues as Kelli proceeds to purchase a new car battery from Joe. Joe & The Shawl announces its true intention the moment that Joe asks to see Kelli’s ID to verify her purchase. You see, in Kelli’s ID picture, she is wearing a hijab, the traditional headscarf that some Muslim women prefer to wear. Joe is confused; he might as well have just encountered a strange being from Mars. “Are you an Israelian?” he asks her.