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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:

 

My creed is Love; Wherever its caravan turns along the way, that is my belief, my faith.”
— Ibn Arabi

“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 Tunis 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: 

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“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:

 

 




Salaam Dunk
Jan 31st, 2012
Description:

Basketball is much more than a game in David Fine’s stirring documentary about an Iraqi women’s basketball team at the American University of Iraq—Sulaimani (AUIS) in Kurdistan. For the young women on the team, most of whom have never touched a basketball or been allowed to play sports at all before, it is a blissful escape from the realities of living in a war-torn nation.

The team members come from a variety of ethnicities and sects—Arab, Kurd, Christian, Sunni, Shiite—but the joy they discover in playing together and the deep love they come to feel for one another and for Ryan, their young American coach, reveals an Iraq united in a way we’ve rarely seen before.

Reviews:

“A stirring example of the possibilities for young Iraqis outside the country’s war zones.”
- Variety

“Of the majority of images and video to be coming from Iraq…SALAAM DUNK stands aside from the pack.”
- IndieWire

“Sometimes, it’s the simple things that we take for granted that can become the subjects of powerful films when told through the eyes of people a half a world away.”
- Film Slate Magazine

“The film captures their love for one another and for the game. It’s a purity that leads them to shoot free throws in the rain, or run layup drills at a hoop in the middle of nowhere. They don’t play for fame, scholarships, or money; they play because they can.”
- ESPN

Trailer:

 

 

At Festivals

 

2011 – LA Film Festival – World Premiere

2011 – Winner! Golden Plaque, Chicago Film Festival

2011 – DOHA Tribeca Film Festival – International Premiere

2011 – (IDFA) International Documentary Festival Amsterdam – European Premiere

2012 – Reframe International Film Festival – Canadian Premiere