Description: 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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
Description: “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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
Two years ago, most of the women on the basketball team at the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani (AUIS) had never been running before. Many had never played sports. None had ever been on a team with other women. They came from all corners of Iraq to attend this prestigious school, but many cannot tell family back home they go to an “American” university.
Ayed Morrar, an unlikely community organizer, unites Palestinians from all political factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Victory seems improbable until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines.
With “an elegiac poignancy” (New York Times), director James Allen Smith’s Floored “captures the waning heyday of the Chicago Trading Pits” (ABC News) and tells the bizarre and gripping stories of the traders—”overgrown kids with money, brains and a pathological need to release stress” (Barron’s) whose chaotic, audacious and thrill-seeking way of life has all but vanished with the recent shift toward automated computerized stock trading.
Filmmaker James Smith spends a year exploring his eccentric Massachusetts parents as age and health issues threaten to challenge the existence and habits they know so well. What is revealed is a fascinating document of the struggles and triumphs of many families in America as the Smiths endure the trials of disappointing careers, alcohol abuse, religious fundamentalism, obesity, and shattered ideals. However, the true revelation is the humor and grace with which the subjects face their troubles and their relationships, resulting in a beautiful and sensitive portrayal of commitment, love, and infectious optimism.
Poignant moments, complicated relationships, and original characters are woven into a colorful and humorous fabric of the present, illuminated by fascinating revelations from the past.
A devoted son of Holocaust survivors and ardent critic of Israeli foreign policy, the polarizing American political scientist and author Norman Finkelstein has been called a lunatic and self-hating Jew by some, and an inspirational revolutionary by others. Uncompromising even in the face of his recent denial of tenure at DePaul University, Finkelstein is revealed as a complex, politically isolated figure who puts the pursuit of justice above the safety of his academic career. Exploring the difficult and deeply-felt issues at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, American Radical is the insightful and enraging documentary that follows Finkelstein around the world as he attempts to negotiate a powerful voice among his impassioned critics and supporters.
A young girl’s father sends her three brothers from Japan to a live permanently in a homeland foreign to them — North Korea. In this autobiographical documentary spanning ten years, the daughter left behind, filmmaker Yonghi Yang, struggles to understand why her loving father would destroy his family out of political loyalty to an isolated and enigmatic regime.
Filmed with a borrowed camera and featuring a cast almost entirely made up of friends and relatives of the director and his producer/creative-partner Peng Shan, Taking Father Home is the story of a teenager (Xu Yun) from a remote village who travels to the big city of Zigong with nothing but a brace of ducks in a basket on his back to find and retrieve his errant father, who walked out on his family six years before.
Women across the Arab world are redefining their role as leaders in Islam. In director Brigid Maher’s insightful documentary film, Veiled Voices, three influential women Islamic leaders are profiled—along with their families and the communities in which they serve: Ghina Hammoud in Lebanon, Dr. Du’ad Saleh in Egypt and Huda al-Habash in Syria.
The three personal stories featured in Veiled Voices give insight into how Muslim women are increasingly willing to challenge the status quo from within their religion, promoting Islam as a powerful force for positive transformation in the world.
An opus in three parts, Iraq In Fragments offers a series of intimate, passionately-felt portraits: A fatherless 11-year-old is apprenticed to the domineering owner of a Baghdad garage; Sadr followers in two Shiite cities rally for regional elections while enforcing Islamic law at the point of a gun; a family of Kurdish farmers welcomes the US presence, which has allowed them a measure of freedom previously denied.
A young student of the arts, Dunia aspires to be a professional dancer and poet. Her artistic expression is inhibited, however, by her inability to experience and express desire. Dunia’s reasoning that women should not move their bodies to evoke an act of love is challenged by the ardent public intellectual Dr. Beshir–played by Egyptian superstar singer Mohammed Mounir.
Shooting on location in East Jerusalem, Ramallah and at checkpoints in-between, Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) sees the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the eyes of a young woman who, with only ten hours to marry, must negotiate her way around roadblocks, soldiers, stone-throwers, overworked officials … and into the heart of an elusive lover.
Inspired by real events, documentary filmmaker Saverio Costanzo’s feature debut is a minimalist psychological drama about a Palestinian family of seven suddenly confronted with a volatile situation in their home that in many ways reflects the larger ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Winner of a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, Private is convincingly shot in a documentary style with a hand-held camera and a quick pace. Director Costanzo has created a unique occasion for both Israeli and Palestinian actors to work together, and being an outsider himself, he has worked to maintain a neutral standpoint while dramatizing the conflict.
In this achingly romantic tale, handsome young Tariq is about to marry Bilquis, eldest daughter of a prominent and powerful judge. But as he wanders the ancient city of Sana’a late one night, he spots a beautiful young woman dancing in the street and falls madly in love with her.
Before long, the young groom must choose between following his heart and protecting his family’s honor. Filmed entirely on location in the ancient city of Sana’a, this exquisite film is the first feature film ever to come out of Yemen.
Nestled below the rugged peaks of the Northern Rockies in Montana lies the worst case of community-wide exposure to a toxic substance in U.S. history. In the small town of Libby, many hundreds of people are sick or have already died from asbestos exposure. Libby, Montana takes a long working day’s journey into a blue-collar community, and finds a different reality — one where the American Dream exacts a terrible price.
Twenty-two year old Corporal Jonathan Santos had documented his 37 days of military service in Iraq in a personal diary before a roadside bomb took his life and the lives of several of his friends and servicemen on October 15, 2004. Jonathan’s mother, Doris, wasn’t aware that her son had kept a diary until his Tuff Box™ – a soldier’s chest filled with their most valuable items – was sent to her after his death. Upon opening the box, she discovered his “little green book” and a stack of videocassettes on which he had recorded daily life in Iraq.
Just when the world is losing hope about the possibility of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict comes Encounter Point. Created by a Palestinian, Israeli, North and South American team, Encounter Point moves beyond sensational and dogmatic imagery to tell the story of an Israeli settler, a Palestinian ex-prisoner, a bereaved Israeli mother and a wounded Palestinian bereaved brother who risk their safety and public standing to press for an end to the conflict. They are at the vanguard of a movement to push Palestinian and Israeli societies to a tipping point, forging a new consensus for nonviolence and peace. Perhaps years from now, their actions will be recognized as a catalyst for constructive change in the region. Encounter Point is a film about hope, true courage and implicitly about the silence of journalists and politicians who pay little attention to vital grassroots peace efforts.
In one of the most enduring and popular films of Chahine’s career, Cairo’s main railroad station serves as a microcosm of Egyptian society, with a community of railroad workers and drink vendors living together in abandoned train cars. When the crippled newspaper dealer Kinawi (played by Chahine himself) is rebuffed by the beautiful-but-indifferent Hanuma (Hind Rostom), he kidnaps the object of his obsessive desire—with disastrous consequences.
Chahine’s steamy noir masterpiece of repressed sexuality, madness and violence earned the director international acclaim when it was nominated for the prestigious Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1958.
A visual poem of incomparable beauty, this masterpiece from director Nacer Khemir (Wanderers of the Desert) begins with the story of a blind dervish named Bab’Aziz and his spirited granddaughter, Ishtar. Together they wander the desert in search of a great reunion of dervishes that takes place just once every thirty years.
A traveling writer and teller of fables, Nacer Khemir here applies his age-old skills to a narrative feature film, the first in his highly-regarded Desert Trilogy that includes The Dove’s Lost Necklace andBab’Aziz – The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul .
Khemir creates an exotic world withWanderers of the Desert when a young teacher arrives to take over a village school isolated in the shimmering desert. Reminiscent of the best Iranian films of the 1970s in its use of color and setting, it also has something of the wit, cruelty and ambiguity of the Arabian Nights.