Salaam Santa

Feature, Drama, Christmas Thriller
When a Muslim cab driver loses his job, he finds work as a department store Santa, but he must battle prejudice, bratty kids, and a car theft kingpin who threatens his family and the woman he loves. Read more

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SYNOPSIS for Salaam Santa

SALAAM SANTA Feature by Christine Inserra

Kenan is a 35-year-old Bosnian refugee living in Chicago who is beginning to wonder if his move to America might have been as dangerous as the war he left behind. As a devout Caucasian Muslim, he struggles to fit in, including finding places to pray throughout his workday. Although bright, kind, and hard-working, Kenan barely supports himself, his rascally brother Denis, and his ailing but wise mother, Belma. While chauffeuring Reuf, a needy Muslim boy, Kenan grows to care deeply for him and his lovely mother, Demila.

Right before Christmas, Kenan gets laid off due to Uber and Lyft competition. Desperate for work, Kenan lands a job as a department store Santa. At first, he bombs, feeling degraded, masquerading as a silly holiday character. The kids humiliate him. The department store dressing room becomes his prayer haven during his short breaks! By the end of day one, his boss fires him. On his knees, Kenan begs and gets one more chance.

The next day Kenan incorporates magic tricks his late father taught him, and suddenly he’s a big hit with the kids. Kenan helps them in a “Mr. Rogers way” by listening to their troubles, offering compassionate guidance, and coaxing the kids’ focus towards kind, helpful behavior and away from the material “loot” of the season.

“Magic Santa” becomes the rock star of the department store. “You’re sleighing it,” his boss cracks. Kenan loves this “job” and is raking in enough to pay down most of his mom’s medical bills. His work as Santa also impresses Reuf and his mom, Demila, giving Kenan the courage to ask them both on a date. The rapport that blossoms between Reuf and Kenan makes him even more attractive to Demila.

Life, however, is not all candy canes and egg nog for Kenan. Reuf asks Magic Santa if he can make his mom’s mean boyfriend disappear. After a dangerous car heist goes wrong and Denis gets shot, Kenan discovers that his brother works for a car theft ring. Adding to his angst, he learns Denis’s boss Petar just so happens to be Demila’s abusive boyfriend, and his heart hits the floor. Kenan confronts Petar and threatens to bring down his illegal operation.

Retaliating, Petar sets Kenan’s family apartment on fire, leaving them homeless. Defeated, Kenan wants to move his family to St. Louis for a fresh start, but he can’t bear to leave Demila and Reuf. Joining forces, Denis and Kenan concoct a ruse to put Petar behind bars. On Christmas day, Petar desperately needs help stealing a Yukon SUV for a VIP customer. Denis shows up ready to help with the high-risk heist. While the target family enjoys Christmas dinner, Petar attempts to scan the electronic key signal from outside. Who crashes the party? Santa Kenan, bearing a gift. He leaves just in time to grab the key fob and turn off the escaping SUV. Petar twigs to the deception and tries to shoot Denis, but Kenan tackles him. The brothers immobilize Petar, leaving him trapped in the car as the police arrive! Ho. Ho. Ha. Ha.

Now free of Petar, Demila, and Reuf accept Kenan’s invitation to move to St. Louis and start a new life. Kenan lines up a great-paying job as “Magic Kenny,” a children’s entertainer, with Reuf as his assistant!

And to all, a good night!

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