FilmPage

Iraqi Odyssey
Oct 9th, 2015

 

Description:

Switzerland’s Official Submission for the 88th Academy Awards.

Tracing the emigrations of his family over more than half a century, this riveting 3D documentary epic from acclaimed expatriate Iraqi filmmaker Samir pays moving homage to the frustrated democratic dreams of a people successively plagued by the horrors of colonialism, dictatorship, war, and foreign occupation.

While there are no precise statistics, it is estimated that four to five million Iraqis live outside Iraq today. Award-winning filmmaker Samir was born in Baghdad and has lived in Switzerland since he was child, while the members of his extended family are scattered all over the world — Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Sydney, Los Angeles, Buffalo, London, Paris, Zurich, and Moscow — with only a handful remaining in Iraq. Recounting his family’s stories of departures and uprootings, in Iraqi Odyssey Samir also chronicles how Iraqis’ dreams of building a modern and just society after their nation achieved independence in the 1950s were brutally dashed over the course of half a century.

Loosely organized in three acts, the film begins with Samir’s grandfather and his role in the struggle against British colonialism. The second act traces the successive waves of emigration as his relatives sought safe havens around the globe to escape from the series of coups and counter-coups in the 1960s and 1970s that resulted in the establishment of Saddam Hussein’s three-decade dictatorship over the country. Saddam’s deposition by the 2003 US invasion, and the iconic image of his statue being toppled in Firdos Square, signals the film’s final act, and the last tale of departure.

Weaving together the ironic, wistful, and witty testimonies of Samir’s relatives with rare documents from private and state archives, and Ottoman film footage, Iraqi Odyssey is a riveting epic that creates a genuine people’s history of Iraq, at once humble and majestic.

Shedding a new light on a grossly misrepresented country, Iraqi Odyssey is the veteran director’s most personal, ambitious, and accomplished feature to date.
— Rasha Salti, Toronto International Film Festival


Typecast Releasing & The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII) are proud to announce an academic screening tour of the official theatrical version of Samir’s epic documentary film.

This film provides an ideal setting for discussions relating to the history and future of Iraq and the Middle East in general and sheds a profound light on the origins of the refugee crisis.

Contact Typecast Releasing to book your screening today: info@typecastfilms.com

Contact TAARII to help coordinate speakers or showings for Iraqi refugee communities in your area: http://www.taarii.org/. 


 

Reviews:

“For American audiences Iraqi Odyssey will be a revelation.”
— New York Times

“A personal, insightful and beautifully made film…I was spellbound in front of the screen.”
— Huffington Post

“Iraqi Odyssey is one of the more breathless documentaries in recent memory.”
— Village Voice

“Straddling a telling of his generously-sized family’s history and that of Iraq, Samir’s aptly named film is nothing short of epic.”
— ReOrient Reviews

“An impressive amount of archival material, nicely edited and accompanied by appropriate music tracks, acts as both family album and chronicle of a lost world.”
— Variety

“Iraqi Odyssey takes 3D where it usually doesn’t go. It’s a mesmerizing hi-def film about the history of an impressive people.”
— People’s World

“Iraqi Odyssey is a documentary of one extraordinary Iraqi family whose tale is all the more remarkable because it is so common.”
— Epoch Times

Trailer:

 

 

At Festivals

 

Freiburger Filmforum 2015

Arabische Filmtage Tübingen 2015

Duisburger Filmtage 2015

Silk Road International Film Festival 2015

CIFF Cairo International Film Festival 2015

JIFF Jerusalem International Film Festival 2015

BIFF Bergen International Film Festival 2015

NZIFF New Zealand International Film Festival 2015

EIDF EBF International Documentary Festival South Korea 2015

Black Nights Film Festival Tallinn 2015

Beldocs Belgrade International Documentary Film Festival 2015

Biografilm Festival Bologna 2015

BAFICI Buenos Aires 2015

Arabiske Filmdager Oslo 2015

Vilnius International Film Festival IFF 2015

Beirut Cinema Days – Ayam Beirut al Cinema’iya 2015

Solothurner Filmtage 2015

 Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 2015 – Berlinale Panorama, Dokumente

Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage 2014

São Paulo Mostra Cinema: Oriente Médio 2014

ADFF – Abu Dhabi International Film Festival 2014

 Zurich Film Festival – Work-in-Progress Special Screening 2014

Festival do Rio 2014 – World Panorama

TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival 2014




Looking for Muhyiddin
Nov 13th, 2014

Part of a Journey to the Heart of Arab Culture
with Three New Films by Nacer Khemir

Language: André Miquel: An Encounter with the Arabic Language

Imagination: Scheherazade: Words Against Death

Faith: Looking for Muhyiddin


Description:

“Without fear of exaggeration, I can honestly say that this is one of those rare films which
could change the course of history if only its ideas were studied and taken to heart.”
— Chale Nafus, Director of Programming, Austin Film Society

Read this review: click here

“Khemir’s atypical three hour opus is a veritable adventure with the marvelous.”
— Kamel Ben Ouanes, Film Critic

A man (played by the filmmaker Nacer Khemir) returns home to Tunisia to bury his mother. After the burial, his father gives him an “amana” to be handed to a certain Sheikh named Muhyiddin. Taken by his father’s request, the man immediately sets out on an epic journey to find the long lost Sheikh and deliver the “amana.” Throughout the trip, he is guided by a mysterious spiritual master and the many friends of the Sheikh he encounters along the way. As the adventure unfolds, we discover the rich life of this Sheikh and his uncompromising love for humanity. For under his teachings, different beliefs, faiths, and ways of life can only converge and become one. The more we learn about Sheikh Muhyiddin, the more we understand why he is venerated across cultures and continents. Looking for Muhyiddin is a deeply lyrical odyssey into the soul of Islam through the life and work of one of its beloved mystics: Ibn Arabi

Trailer:

This film is available with a Digital Site License (DSL), which allows colleges, universities, or libraries to encode, locally host, and stream the film to their community on a closed, password-protected system.

Rental Information:

This film is available from AFD for public screenings and television broadcast. For information regarding rental rates and formats, please contact info@arabfilm.com  for institutional/non-theatrical screenings, or info@arabfilm.com for theatrical, festival, television, or other bookings.

About the Filmmaker:

Through cinema, painting, sculpture, calligraphy, writing and storytelling, Nacer Khemir has thrown bridges between shores, North and South, East and West. Since he directed “The Story of the Land of God,” for the French channel (Antenne 2) in 1975, he has written, directed, and produced a number of feature films and documentaries. In 1984, he won the top award at the Film Festival of the Three Continents, in Nantes, France for his first feature film “The Wanderers of the Desert.” He then won the “Tanit D’or” at the Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia, and the Golden Palm leaf at the Valencia Film Festival, and the Critic’s award at the Venice Film Festival. In 1991, his film “The Dove’s Lost Necklace” won the Special Jury Award at the Locarno Festival, the top award at the Belfort Film Festival in France as well the Jury’s Special Award at the Festival of French-Speaking Films in St-Martin. In 1991, he directed “In Search of the Arabian Nights” for the French channel (FR3). In 2005, he cowrote and directed “Bab Aziz, The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul” which won the Golden Dagger at the Muscat Film Festival and the Henry Langlois Prize. In 2007, Nacer Khemir was featured in Swiss director’s Bruno Moll film “Journey To Tunis” about the travels of Paul Klee in Tunisia in 1914 and its influence on his painting. In 2008 Khemir directed “The Alphabet of My Mother” a digital short film which was produced by the JeonJu International Film Festival and premiered at the Locarno and Melbourne film festivals. In 2010 he produced and directed the documentary “André Mique: An Encounter with the Arabic Language.” In 2011 he co-produced and directed “Sheherazade, Words Against Death.” In 2012 he produced and directed “Looking for Muhyiddin” an epic spiritual odyssey about the life and philosophy of the Muslim mystic Ibn Arabi. “Looking for Muhyiddin” won Barzaj Prize in Spain. In 2013 he produced and directed “Yasmina and the 60 Names of Love” and he has just finished production on “Where to Start?”. Nacer Khemir’s films consistently interrogate the myths of the past in order to question and illuminate the future.



Road to Kurdistan
Nov 12th, 2014
Description:

“Road to Kurdistan allows us to travel along as a culture navigates between boundaries,
forcing us to question where freedom resides—within us or among us.”
— Margaret J. Krauss, Intelligent Travel

This moving documentary takes the viewer on a road trip into the heart of the Kurdish soul. Fo’ad, a talented student musician, travels to Iraq from Iran, looking for new opportunities for his Kurdish band in Suleimaniya. His fellow travelers on this at times dangerous journey are the filmmaker’s aging father and aunt. The Vaziris are keen to explore Suleimaniya’s rich past and pay tribute to one of Kurdistan’s famous women poets: The late Mastoureh Ardalan. On the bus, Fo’ad enchants his fellow travelers with his soulful music and warm voice. As the group’s small bus navigates the many checkpoints and borders, it becomes clear that love of Kurdish culture and music is what brings the travelers together. Road to Kurdistan examines the re-emerging cultural roots between Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan after the fall of Saddam and the opening of the Iran-Iraq border.

This film is available with a Digital Site License (DSL), which allows colleges, universities, or libraries to encode, locally host, and stream the film to their community on a closed, password-protected system.

Trailer:

Rental Information:

This film is available from AFD for public screenings and television broadcast. For information regarding rental rates and formats, please contact info@arabfilm.com  for institutional/non-theatrical screenings, or info@arabfilm.com for theatrical, festival, television, or other bookings.

About the Filmmaker:

Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri is an award-winning independent filmmaker and educator, born and raised in Tehran, Iran. she received her BA from Trinity College in Hartford, Ct., and an MA in Cinema Studies from New York University. Currently she is completing her doctoral studies at Temple University. She works for Link Television series Bridge to Iran and on documentary programs that promote understanding of Iran, including Cinema Encounters in Tehran and Conversations in Tehran. She has worked for Deep Dish TV on a 12-part series about the war in Iraq, which was broadcast on PBS and has been shown world-wide in museums, art houses and universities. It was included in the 2005 Whitney Museum Biennial.
Her personal documentaries are about Iran and her relationship to the country she left as a young person, the upheavals of revolution, the Iran-Iraq war and years of difficult history with the US. Her work has shown widely in museums, art houses, universities and on television. They include Road to Kurdistan, 2011, Women Like Us, 2002; A Place Called Home, 1998; Far From Iran, 1990; Journal from Tehran, 1987. Her work is distributed by Women Make Movies and Arab Films.




Part of a Journey to the Heart of Arab Culture
with Three New Films by Nacer Khemir

Language: André Miquel: An Encounter with the Arabic Language

Imagination: Scheherazade: Words Against Death

Faith: Looking for Muhyiddin


Description:

“One listens to the stories and does not want them ever to end!”
— Martial Knaebel

The collected work known as “One Thousand and One Nights” survived for centuries through generations of Arab storytellers, and is now recognized as an integral part of world literature. In this filmed performance, storyteller/filmmaker Nacer Khemir sits on chair in the middle of a dimly lit stage and deploys the magic of words to take us on a journey of the imagination. This simple set-up may not seem like much, but it offers the listener an extraordinarily colorful experience and brilliantly emphasizes the oral nature of the work. As we listen to the expertly told stories, we are equally charmed by their intricacies and entranced by their interconnectedness. Even though Khemir illustrates some of the stories with beautifully filmed sequences, the audience’s ability to listen is paramount here. Sheherazade used words to avoid impending death, Khemir uses the art of storytelling to breathe a new life into this ancient masterwork.

Trailer:

This film is available with a Digital Site License (DSL), which allows colleges, universities, or libraries to encode, locally host, and stream the film to their community on a closed, password-protected system.

Rental Information:

This film is available from AFD for public screenings and television broadcast. For information regarding rental rates and formats, please contact info@arabfilm.com  for institutional/non-theatrical screenings, or info@arabfilm.com for theatrical, festival, television, or other bookings.

About the Filmmaker:

Through cinema, painting, sculpture, calligraphy, writing and storytelling, Nacer Khemir has thrown bridges between shores, North and South, East and West. Since he directed “The Story of the Land of God,” for the French channel (Antenne 2) in 1975, he has written, directed, and produced a number of feature films and documentaries. In 1984, he won the top award at the Film Festival of the Three Continents, in Nantes, France for his first feature film “The Wanderers of the Desert.” He then won the “Tanit D’or” at the Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia, and the Golden Palm leaf at the Valencia Film Festival, and the Critic’s award at the Venice Film Festival. In 1991, his film “The Dove’s Lost Necklace” won the Special Jury Award at the Locarno Festival, the top award at the Belfort Film Festival in France as well the Jury’s Special Award at the Festival of French-Speaking Films in St-Martin. In 1991, he directed “In Search of the Arabian Nights” for the French channel (FR3). In 2005, he cowrote and directed “Bab Aziz, The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul” which won the Golden Dagger at the Muscat Film Festival and the Henry Langlois Prize. In 2007, Nacer Khemir was featured in Swiss director’s Bruno Moll film “Journey To Tunis” about the travels of Paul Klee in Tunisia in 1914 and its influence on his painting. In 2008 Khemir directed “The Alphabet of My Mother” a digital short film which was produced by the JeonJu International Film Festival and premiered at the Locarno and Melbourne film festivals. In 2010 he produced and directed the documentary “André Mique: An Encounter with the Arabic Language.” In 2011 he co-produced and directed “Sheherazade, Words Against Death.” In 2012 he produced and directed “Looking for Muhyiddin” an epic spiritual odyssey about the life and philosophy of the Muslim mystic Ibn Arabi. “Looking for Muhyiddin” won Barzaj Prize in Spain. In 2013 he produced and directed “Yasmina and the 60 Names of Love” and he has just finished production on “Where to Start?”. Nacer Khemir’s films consistently interrogate the myths of the past in order to question and illuminate the future.



Lost Dream, The
Oct 16th, 2013
Description:


Winner!!! Docs In Progress Decade of Docs: Window to the World Award!

Ten years after the US-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States, yet their personal stories have been mostly underreported. The Lost Dream, follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting US forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Once in the U.S., however, they find themselves without any resources or support, wondering in the end if it was all worth it. Through their Iraqi home videos, personal diaries, and media coverage the film intimately captures their emotional, psychological, and physical struggles as they try to reconcile their hopes for a liberated Iraq with their harsh reality as refugees who can never go home.

This film is available with a Digital Site License (DSL), which allows colleges, universities, or libraries to encode, locally host, and stream the film to their community on a closed, password-protected system.

Executive producer for the film is Laura Poitras, who made the Oscar-nominated
Iraqi documentary “My Country, My Country.”

Trailer:

Rental Information:

This film is available from AFD for public screenings and television broadcast. For information regarding rental rates and formats, please contact info@arabfilm.com  for institutional/non-theatrical screenings, or info@arabfilm.com for theatrical, festival, television, or other bookings.

About the Filmmaker:

Jehan S. Harney made several documentaries on human rights, women’s issues, religion, and culture. Her film The Colors of Veil won Link TV/ One Nation Many Voices award for best documentary on American-Muslim women. Soul Mechanic made the Washington Post metro cover page. Radio Prague profiled Jehan as “one of the most interesting figures in Czech life today” for her original documentary Sterile Dreams, on the illegal sterilization of minority Roma women in the Czech Republic. Harney also worked in TV and multimedia news production at ABC and NBC affiliates, and on NBC’s weekend Congressional news program, Power Breakfast. Her media work earned the Writers Guild of America-East’s John Merriman Award and the Christopher’s Making a Difference Award. She has an MA in International Journalism & Public Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. Jehan was a journalist in Egypt, and was born and raised in Kuwait.



Description:

Falafelism follows the iconic Palestinian croquette made from ground chickpeas and fava beans as it rolls its way through world history, cultural identity, class struggle, and international politics. There is no doubt that the world enjoys this humble sandwich as a Middle Eastern food favorite but some Israelis now claim it as their own.

What is the origin of this dish? What is the difference between the Egyptian Tamieh and the Palestinian Falafel? Who is winning the Falafel wars? Can this delicious yet humble sandwich bring people together or is it yet another example of Israeli appropriation of Palestinian food and culture? Filmed in North America, Europe and the Middle East, with leading scholars, restaurateurs, and everyday people, Falefelism tries to answer all these questions and more as filmmaker Ari Cohen gains 20 pounds in search of cultural coexistence between Israel and Palestine, Jews and Arabs.

Trailer:

 

This film is available with a Digital Site License (DSL), which allows colleges, universities, or libraries to encode, locally host, and stream the film to their community on a closed, password-protected system.

Rental Information

This film is available from AFD for public screenings and television broadcast. For information regarding rental rates and formats, please contact info@arabfilm.com  for institutional/non-theatrical screenings, or info@arabfilm.com for theatrical, festival, television, or other bookings.




Description:

In 2011, Irish author, filmmaker, and former director of Edinburgh Film Festival, Mark Cousins, ended his cinematic odyssey with the release of the 15 hour long compilation documentary: The Story of Film. For this epic project, Mark traveled the world to learn more about the films of renowned directors such as Youssef Chahine, John Ford, Abbas Kiarostami and Ritwik Ghatak and to experience firsthand the settings of their master works. While in Iran, Mark made two tribute documentaries on Iranian cinema: On the Road with Kiarostami and Cinema Iran.

In A Journey Through Iranian Cinema With Mark Cousins, Iranian filmmaker Ehsan Khoshbakht catches up with Mark during the English tour of The Story of Film. Mark explores the impact of the films of Forough Farrokhzad, Abbas Kiarostami and the Makhmalbaf(s) have had on his life as filmmaker and film lover, as he reminisces about the two trips he made from Scotland to Iran in his campervan. Mark also offers fascinating insights on modern Iran: A country whose rich culture and vast history are often overshadowed by the day-to-day fluctuations in modern-day politics.

Reviews:

“Mark Cousins is incapable of writing anything about cinema history without making it fascinating.”
—Sean Connery



Jerry and Me
Jan 18th, 2013
Description: 

hirez_SFJFFLaurelOfficial_2013

“A provocative and hilarious cross-cultural investigation.”
— Jonathan Rosenbaum

“Jerry & Me is a love letter to cinema”
— Chicago Journal

In her intimate documentary “Jerry & Me,” filmmaker Mehrnaz Saeedvafa examines the significant role that Hollywood movies played in her life, both as a young film lover growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran, and as an adult working as a filmmaker and educator in both Iran and the USA.

Of particular focus in “Jerry & Me” is the intimate relationship young Mehrnaz develops with the image of Jerry Lewis, the iconic American film auteur who delighted audiences around the world with hilarious portrayals of outcasts and misfits in popular Hollywood comedies of the 1950s and ’60s.

As illustrated through a variety of Lewis’ film clips, the shifts in the comedian’s on-screen persona reflected the twists and turns of Saeedvafa’s own life, providing her much needed comfort and companionship during a time that was tumultuous and chaotic. Mehrnaz’s illusion of Lewis as an empathetic fellow outsider is ultimately shattered, however, by the stark reality of a real-life encounter with the star.

Watch the Trailer:



both/and
Jun 21st, 2012
Description:

 

A semi-autobiographical short video play by Jamil Khoury, both/and disrupts the dictates of “either/or” and “us vs. them,” imagining identities that are holistic and non-fragmented.

In both/and, the characters of Jamil, Arab Man, and Gay Man explore and explode the constructed boundaries between American and Arab, Arab American and gay, for-profit and not-for-profit, and other assorted disputed territories.

DVD copies include On both/and and Being a Both/And-er, an 11-minute video essay in which writer-producer Jamil Khoury discusses the themes and ideas presented in his film. Khoury’s documentary film Not Quite White is also available from Typecast here.

Trailer:

 

 




Not Quite White
Jun 4th, 2012
Description:

 

Inspired by Jamil Khoury’s short play WASP: White Arab Slovak Pole, Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Contested Whiteness is a thought-provoking documentary that explores the complicated relationship of Arab and Slavic immigrants to American notions of whiteness.

The film integrates scenes from WASP alongside interviews with Arab American and Polish American academics who reflect upon contested and probationary categories of whiteness and the use of anti-Black racism as a “whitening” dye.

In Not Quite White, Jamil Khoury (Artistic Director of Chicago’s Silk Road Rising) draws upon his own Arab (Syrian) and Slavic (Polish and Slovak) heritage as the lens through which to investigate the broader issue of immigrants achieving whiteness and hence qualifying as “fully American.” The film advances society’s on-going conversations about the meaning of whiteness and efforts at redefining whiteness.

Not just for white people, and not just for Arabs and Slavs, Not Quite White proceeds from the assumption that whiteness affects all our lives and that we all need to critically engage whiteness. “Whiteness has everything to do with melanin and pigmentation and it has nothing to do with melanin and pigmentation,” Khoury observes. “Whiteness is about power and borders and authorship. And whiteness can, and does, change.”

The academics featured in Not Quite White include: Roxane Assaf, Adjunct Faculty, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Ann Hetzel Gunkel, Director of Cultural Studies, Columbia College Chicago; John Tofik Karam, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies, De Paul University; Dominic A. Pacyga, Professor of History, Columbia College Chicago.

DVD copies also include On Whiteness, a 16-minute video essay in which writer and co-director Jamil Khoury discusses the themes and ideas presented in his film. Khoury’s short film both/and is also available from Typecast here.

Reviews:

Not Quite White is a bold and dynamic examination of the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. Switching between the theatrical performance of an Arab American who ‘looks’ white and interviews with scholars from the Arab American and Polish American communities, the film is able to offer a multi-dimensional understanding of whiteness as a contested racial category. As a Lecturer in Cultural Studies, I find the film useful as a tool for teaching students that race is more complex than what meets the eye.”
- Michelle Yates, Ph.D., Dept. of Humanities, History, & Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago

“Zeroes in on whiteness as a constructed social and political category…that historically ‘played favorites,’ advantaging Northern and Western European immigrants over immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East.”
- PRNewswire

Not Quite White presents the often sensitive topics of race and identity in an entertaining, thoughtful, and enlightening way. The film is very well done and also a great reminder that appearances cannot always provide the full story of politics, race, and class that come into play in American society. Jamil Khoury has turned his vision and personal experiences of race and identity into a powerful artistic piece.”
- Christie J. Dal Corobbo, Cultural Studies and Minors Programs at Columbia College Chicago

Trailer: