1618ochaley

Middle East

Upcoming films and events focusing on the MIDDLE EAST:

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Opening February 14:

THE SQUARE by Jehane Noujaim. In February 2011, Egyptians, particularly young ones, showed the world the way people demanding change can drive an entire nation to transformation. The result was a profound movement toward democracy that is still evolving across the Arab world.  The Square, a new film by Jehane Noujaim (Control Room; Rafea: Solar Mama), looks at the hard realities faced day-to-day by people working to build Egypts new democracy. Catapulting us into the action spread across 2011 and 2012, the film provides a kaleidoscopic, visceral experience of the struggle. Cairo’s Tahrir Square is the heart and soul of the film, which follows several young activists. Armed with values, determination, music, humor, an abundance of social media, and sheer obstinacy, they know that the thorny path to democracy only began with Hosni Mubarak‘s fall. The life-and-death struggle between the people and the power of the state is still playing out in this Academy Award nominated documentary from Egypt.

The Uprising Poster

Wednesday, February 26 @ 7:00 p.m.

THE UPRISING by visiting filmmaker PETER SNOWDON. The Uprising shows us the Arab revolutions from the inside. It is a multi-camera, first-person account of that fragile, irreplaceable moment when life ceases to be a prison, and everything becomes possible again. This feature-length documentary is composed entirely of videos made by citizens and long-term residents of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The film uses this footage, not to recount the actual chronology of events or analyse their causes, but to create an imaginary pan-Arab uprising that exists (for the moment) only on the screen. “It is a happy development indeed when we see the revolution in the technical possibilities of documentary production – information gathering, witnessing and reportage – so bound up with the concurrent manifestation of political liberation, when populations have not only come to a sharpened awareness of their oppression, but also at the same time, the means by which they can record it, communicate it, and propose to change it. This year’s winner is a film, which in turned saddened me, frightened me, outraged me, inspired me, and ultimately made me truly proud to be a part of the democratic project and the struggle for human dignity. The Opus Bonum Award goes to Peter Snowdon’s profoundly compelling compilation of amateur footage from the Arab spring The Uprising.”- Craig Baldwin, filmmaker and head juror, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival.  Peter Snowden’s appearance is presented in collaboration with Documentary Fortnight: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media and L.S.U.

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Opening March 14:

OMAR by Hany Abu-Assad.  Academy Award nominee from Palestine for Best Foreign Language Film from the director of Paradise Now. A tense, gripping thriller about betrayal, suspected and real, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Omar (Adam Bakri) is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl Nadja (Leem Lubany). By night, he’s ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military with his childhood friends Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. So begins a dangerous game—is he playing his Israeli handler (Waleed F. Zuaiter) or will he really betray his cause? And whom can he trust on either side? Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) has made a dynamic, action-packed drama about the insoluable moral dilemmas and tough choices facing those on the frontlines of a conflict that shows no sign of letting up. Winner Special Jury Prize – Cannes Film Festival 2013; Best Director & Film – Dubai 2013; Best Film – Asia Pacific Screen Award; Best Film – Ghent Int. Film Festival.

Please Note:  It is with great sadness that I must also announce that Zeitgeist will not be producing the 6th NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL, which was scheduled to open on March 7 through 17, 2013.

For the past eight months I and my intern have been working on finding sponsors, funding and films for the festival. Unfortunately, Zeitgeist is not currently in a position of continuing to fund the festival on our own.  The costs of doing a festival are all largely upfront, printing shipping, travel and film rentals.  Currently we do not have the funds available to do so.  In the past our fundraising efforts have allowed us to do that and then get reimbursed through admissions and donations during the festival.  We have usually been able to manage to break even.

Therefore, I have decided instead of producing an annual festival, Zeitgeist will still continue it’s commitment to bringing in films and filmmakers from the Middle East, but instead we will make it a film series so the costs can be spread out throughout the year and integrated into our nightly programming, just like we do with our monthly series CANADA IS BIGGER THAN THE U.S. 

Save the date:

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Our 2013 poster has been designed by Laura Etheridge

Laura Etheredge is a Syrian-American artist and designer from Massachusetts. She has a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies and has participated in solo and group shows in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

We are honored to announce the

5th Annual

NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS:

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY – THE FIRST MOVIE by Mark Cousins

[ Runners – up – tie – 12 ANGRY LEBANESE & HOW TO START A REVOLUTION ]

 

BEST SHORT FILM – ASHRAF SEBRETO by Ahmad Alaa

[ Runner up -  CURFEW by Sherif El Bendari ]

 

BEST FEATURE FILM –  MICROPHONE by Ahmad Abdallah

[ Runner up –  DOG SWEAT by Hoddein Keshavarz ]

The festival was a huge success.  We had a particularly strong line up of films, visual art and a nightly spread of middle eastern cuisine.  Special thanks to all of the filmmakers, artists and distributors for allowing us to present their work including Cinema Guild, Palisades Tartan, 7th Art Releasing, Arab Film Distribution, Pacha Pictures, UNRWA, L’Yeux Ouverts, Toume International, Onlook Films, Upheaval Productions, Trickle Up Films, Indiepix and Film Movement.  Special thanks to everyone who came out and showed their support or made a contribution.  We would also like to give extra special thanks to our good friends at Mona’s Café on Banks St. and Fatoush Restaurant and Coffee House on St. Claude as well as the Middle East Children’s Alliance, New Orleans Film Society, New Orleans Palestine Solidarity, Patois: New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival, to Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center and most importantly to Rene Broussard who makes it all happen (and has made it all happen for the past 25 years!).

The Fifth Annual

NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL

will be December 9 through 18, 2011

Festival Passes and Advanced Tickets – BUY NOW!

plus
A CHILD’S VIEW FROM GAZA,
a children’s art exhibition from Palestine
(in our OCH Gallery – December 9 through 30, 2011)

2011 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:

Friday, December 9:

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – OPENING RECEPTION: A CHILD’S VIEW FROM GAZA

7:30 p.m. – THIS IS NOT A FILM (Iran, 75 mins.)

9:00 p.m. – HOW TO START A REVOLUTION (Iran, Syria, Egypt, 87 mins.)

Saturday, December 10:

5:00 p.m. – NO SHARP OBJECTS + A CHILD’S VIEW FROM GAZA (Palestine, 45 mins.)

6:00 p.m. – PASTPORTS: NAJEEB’S AMAZING ADVENTURE + TELLING STRINGS (Palestine, 105 mins.)

8:30 p.m. – LOVE DURING WARTIME (Israel/Palestine, 92 mins.)

Sunday, December 11:

4:30 p.m. – THE FIRST MOVIE (Iraq, 76 mins.)

6:00 p.m. – GAZA-STROPHE, PALESTINE + CHALLENGING POWER (Israel/Palestine, 113 mins.)

8:30 p.m. – THE GREEN WAVE (Iran, 80 mins.)

Monday, December 12:

6:00 p.m. – THE ART OF FLIGHT (Egypt, 81 mins.)

8:00 p.m. – OCCUPAION HAS NO FUTURE (Israel/Palestine, 84 mins.)

Tuesday, December 13:

6:00 p.m. – DAMASCUS WITH LOVE (Syria, 90 mins.)

8:00 p.m. – HALF MG NICOTINE (Syria, 97 mins.)

Wednesday, December 14:

6:00 p.m. – 12 ANGRY LEBANESE (Lebanon, 85 mins.)

8:00 p.m. – DOG SWEAT (Iran, 90 mins)

Thursday, December 15:

6:00 p.m. – PASSION (Syria, 90 mins.)

8:00 p.m. – HELIOPOLIS (Egypt, 96 mins.)

Friday, December 16:

6:00 p.m. – WOMAN (Syria, 91 mins.)

8:00 p.m. – 18 DAYS, 10 DIRECTORS (Egypt, 125 mins.)

Saturday, December 17:

2:30 p.m. – VOICES AND FACES OF THE ADHAN: CAIRO (Egypt, 75 mins.)

4:00 p.m. – FRAGMENTS OF A LOST PALESTINE (Palestine, 74 mins.)

5:30 p.m. – BEFORE YOUR EYES + IT’S MY TURN (Turkey, 111 mins.)

8:00 p.m. – MICROPHONE (Egypt, 120 mins.)

Sunday, December 18:

3:30 p.m. – DUBAI: A CITY OF DREAMS (United Arab Emirates, 76 mins.)

5:30 p.m. – TATTOOED EYE + MARIA’S GROTTO (Lebanon + Palestine, 82 mins.)

7:30 p.m. – ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Turkey, 157 mins.)

10:00 p.m. – AUDIENCE AWARD WINNING SHORT + AWARDS PRESENTATION

___________

Festival Passes and Advanced tickets – BUY NOW!    or available at the door!

Festival All Access Pass:

$50 individual donation or $75 for a couple

Day Pass:

Monday through Friday – $10.00 donation

Saturdays or Sundays – $15.00 donation

Suggested donation per film:

$8 general / $7 students & seniors / $6 Zeitgeist members & children

or Free for Zeitgeist Patron Members.

all donations help fund the many costs of the festival, which is presented annually without any grants, public funds or paid staff!  Thanks for your support!

A CHILD’S VIEW FROM GAZA

An Art Exhibit of Children’s Drawings from Gaza.

Opening Reception: Friday, December 9 @ 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Recently banned by The Children’s Museum in Oakland (MOCHA). Much of this artwork was drawn by children participating in the Middle East Children’s Alliance’s “Let the Children Play And Heal” Project.  “Let the Children Play and Heal” gives tens of thousands of children and youth in Gaza opportunities to express themselves though art, dance, music, story-telling, theatre and puppetry; to get support from the larger community; and to have fun and just be children.   It was developed to address the needs of traumatized children after the 2009 assault on Gaza and provide much needed psychosocial support.  The museum buckled to pressure from Pro-Israeli foundations and funders and cancelled the exhibition.  We are honored to bring the exhibition herre to New Orleans.  It will be on view in our OCH Gallery – December 9 through 30, 2011.  Also on display will be “A CHILD’S VIEW FROM  GAZA”, a short video which accompanies the exhibition by visiting Palestinian American filmmaker and graphic designer Rajie Cook (who designed our festival poster).  All donations will help fund the cost of bringing the exhibit here and the “Let The Children Play and Heal” Project.

FILMS:

Friday, December 9 @ 7:30 p.m.

THIS IS NOT A FILM by Mojtaba Mirtahmasb & Jafar Panahi. On December 20, 2010, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, The Mirror, The Circle, Crimson Gold, Offside) along with fellow filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof were convicted of “assembly and colluding with the intention to com­mit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” His sentence: six years in prison and a twenty-year ban on filmmaking or giving any form of interview. He is currently under house arrest in Tehran, where he made This is not a Film.The concept is simple: a day in the life of a filmmaker. But when the filmmaker is barred from making films, all he can do is plan. We see Panahi preparing a work that he knows he cannot make. It is a brilliant stroke.  He starts his day at the kitchen table with his collaborator, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. He does not detail his support of protests over the 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that led to his present situa­tion. He speaks to his lawyer on the phone, hoping for some sign that the courts might lift his moratorium. He converses with Mirtahmasb about the creative process. And then he lays out his plans.  In a strangely mesmerizing sequence, this muzzled artist turns his living room into a film set, laying masking tape down on the carpet to delineate the space of his imagination. He narrates the opening shots for a hypothetical film that mirrors his own situation.  This is not a Filmis a philosophical reflec­tion on the nature of making art; it is also an urgent and personal defense of the artist. When Panahi’s day ends on the threshold of the outside world, we see just what’s at stake. At one point, as Mirtahmasb shoots, Panahi says, “Go on, cut.” “You can’t direct,” his collaborator replies. “It’s an offense.” Indeed. In the absurd, incredible, but very real world of This Is Not a Film, What isn’t? Smuggled into France on a USB stick hidden inside a cake (flavor unidentified to shield the identity of its baker and/or courier), it is officially credited as an “effort” by Panahi and Mirtahmasb. On September 17, 2011, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb was arrested in Iran along with five other filmmakers. He is said to be detained in Evin Prison. The crackdowns continue.  This Is Not a Film is one of the most powerful political films ever made.  It is the ultimate work against censorship and oppression.  We are extremely honored to present this powerful work as our Official Opening Night “Not a” Film! (Iran, 75 mins.)

Friday, December 9 @ 9:00 p.m.

HOW TO START A REVOLUTION by Ruaridh Arrow. Half a world away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, an aging American intellectual shuffles around his cluttered terrace house in a working-class Boston neighborhood. His name is Gene Sharp. White-haired and now in his mid-eighties, he grows orchids, he has yet to master the internet and he hardly seems like a dangerous man. But for the world’s dictators his ideas can be the catalyst for the end of their regime.  HOW TO START A REVOLUTION reveals the remarkable story of modern revolution, the power of people to change their world and the man behind it all. Quiet, unassuming, soft-spoken and barely known to the wider world, 83 year old Professor Gene Sharp has written the standard textbook for revolutionary leaders around the globe. Used by activists from Serbia to Egypt, from Ukraine to Syria and Iran, and now influencing Occupy Wall Street, one of Gene’s most important books ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy‘ is nothing less than a handbook of 198 strategic ‘weapons’ that are used to topple dictators. Banned in many countries, his work has influenced a generation of revolutionary leaders who yearn for democratic freedom in Asia, throughout Eastern Europe, in the Middle East and now here in America.  This film explores how, in a few short years, a new wave of revolutionary spirit has swept across the world through a network of international activists, trainers and teachers. It reveals how the leaders of an uprising in one country train and inspire the participants in the next and explores how social media now threatens dictators around the globe in ways that were unimaginable just a decade ago.  We meet revolutionary leaders from Serbia, Ukraine, Egypt and Syria as they explain how they struggled to seize democratic power from the hands of dictators. And, as the world’s headlines turn once again to Egypt in Autumn 2011 for the first Presidential elections, HOW TO START A REVOLUTION is an inspiring exploration of the power of people to change their world.  Winner Best Documentary – Raindance Film Festival, Boston Film Festival and Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. (Iran, Syria, Egypt, 87 mins.)

Saturday, December 10 @ 5:00 p.m.

NO SHARP OBJECTS by Johan Eriksson. This inspirational documentary produced by UNRWA’s Gaza Field Office follows a group of 15 boys from Gaza as they take a remarkable journey to the United States.  The film features 15 boys – all aged 15 – who were among the top students on the “human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance program” that is taught in all UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip.  Most had never been outside Gaza before. They had lived through the war and felt the consequences of isolation all their lives, seeing homes destroyed, and living with death and deprivation. The boys can’t believe their eyes at the hotels, airplanes and highways they encounter during their road trip. Samer Manaa’s dying father told him before leaving to show that Gazans “are people who have principles and values, of freedom for humans and freedom of thought”, saw for the first time “all this greenery” in Israel en route to Amman. The only Israelis he had seen before were soldiers. “We drove into the heart of Israel … It was my first time to see Israelis as they are in their community.”  Once in the US, the boys visited the Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King centers in Atlanta, Georgia; the US Congress in Washington DC; and the UNheadquarters in New York. Amid other first encounters with snow, skyscrapers and six-lane highways – as well as astonishment at finding a Palestinian from Tulkarem in the West Bank serving their burgers in Atlanta – the group paused before a Holocaust exhibition at the UN headquarters. As the boys considered the terrible images from the death camps, their teacher, Rafiq Murad, spoke of the significance of what they were seeing. “And so, guys,” he concluded, “because we faced suffering and injustice we have to appreciate and understand the suffering of others, regardless of their religion and race.” Then, two days after seeing the lights of Times Square, they heard the iron gate at the border between Israel and Gaza close behind them. The next morning they woke up in the devastation of Gaza thinking they had been in a dream. (Palestine, 39 mins.)  Screens with A CHILD’S VIEW FROM  GAZA, a short video which accompanies the exhibition by visiting Palestinian American filmmaker and graphic designer Rajie Cook (who designed our festival poster).  By donation. All donations will help fund the cost of bringing the exhibit here and the “Let The Children Play and Heal” Project.

View the trailer here!

Saturday, December 10 @ 6:00 p.m.

PASTPORTS: NAJEEB’S AMAZING ADVENTURE by Palestinian American filmmaker Rajie Cook. In Pastports, graphic artist Rajie Cook (who designed our festival poster) narrates the tale of the poignant hardships of immigration and estrangement in a documentary about Najeeb Esa Cook, his father’s first journey from Ramallah to America in 1906 at the tender age of 20. (Palestine, 45 mins.) Screens with TELLING STRINGS by Anne-Marie Haller. This Swiss documentary provides a rare look into the profound workings of a Palestinian family of musicians. Initially, the film appears unassuming yet its powerful content, stunning cinematography and informing moments make it a welcomed addition to a long list of documentaries on Palestine.  Originally, from al-Rameh village in the northern Galilee, the Jubran family is the focus of the film. It begins with the return of daughter Kamilya from Paris, where she lives and works as a singer/musician. Prior to moving to Europe, Kamilya was a member of Sabreen, a leading Jerusalem-based musical group that later emerged as an influential Palestinian non-profit organization that promotes music education and talent. Her visit serves as a means to revealing the story of her father Elias Jubran, a musician and instructor who has been building traditional string instruments such as ouds and bouzouqs in his al-Rameh workshop since 1965. With his wife Nuhad, who once aspired to be a singer, Elias passed on a love of music to his children, all of whom have built on his teachings and created their own paths. Classical Arabic music has thus been a way of life for Kamilya and her brothers since their childhood. Khaled is an Arabic music theoretician who runs the independent Urmawi Centre for Mashriq Music, which supports local musicians and students and regularly organizes concerts and workshops throughout the country. Rabea, although trained in computer science, picked up the bouzouq after moving to Jerusalem. An exquisite portrait, Telling Strings explores the many ways in which culture has provided solace for generations of Palestinians while simultaneously fashioning a sense of resistance within the collective consciousness.  (Palestine/Israel,  60 mins.)

Saturday, December 10 @ 8:30 p.m.

LOVE DURING WARTIME by Gabriella Bier. This Swedish documentary follows Osama and Jasmin, newlyweds trying to build a life together against what look like impossible odds: She’s Israeli, he’s Palestinian. The recently married couple are forced to live separated. She lives in Berlin, he in Ramallah. They want desperately to make a life together but it proves to be an impossible task. When an Israeli marries Palestinian they are beyond security offered to other members of society at every turn they are faced with a Catch 22 situation. Israeli bureaucracy filled with suspicion and a menacing Palestinian society makes their life a nightmare. When their homelands turn their backs on them, they choose to live in exile. This tender tale of a love infiltrated by politics follows a real-life Romeo and Juliet on their odyssey from the Middle East through an inhospitable Europe. As their hopes rise and fade with each bureaucratic hurdle, will their love survive?  (Israel / Palestine, 92 mins.)

Sunday, December 11 @ 4:30 p.m.

THE FIRST MOVIE by Mark CousinsTHE FIRST MOVIE is a tribute to the imaginative resilience of children. When Irish filmmaker Mark Cousins and his crew travel to Goptapa, a small Kurdish Village in Northern Iraq devastated by Saddam Hussein‘s regime, they discover children who have known nothing but war their entire lives and have never experienced the magic of cinema. The filmmakers sew together a movie screen from old sheets and set up a projector, instantly creating a movie theater that plays children’s classics in the village center. But the real magic happens when the children receive Flip camcorders and create their own movies filled with a child’s wonder and boundless imagination. The resulting films are the true gift of THE FIRST MOVIE; they are tickets to see a different Iraq, and the world, through a child’s transformative eyes. The film conveys the power of cinema to enchant and inspire, even amidst the bloodshed of war.  This is a terrifically refreshing and entertaining film, suitable for children. (Iraq, 76 mins.)

Sunday, December 11 @ 6:00 p.m.

GAZA-STROPHE, PALESTINE by Samir Abdallah & Kheridine Mabrouk.  This devastating new documentary focusing on the fall-out of the 2008/2009 ‘Operation Cast Lead’ offensive in Gaza. Following a bombardment upon the civilians of Gaza, including white phosphorous, the illegal use of which was initially denied by the Israelis. Directors Samir Abdallah and Khéridine Mabrouk, accompanied by their friends from the Palestinian Human Rights Centre, went to Gaza to film those left amidst the rubble of buildings, families and shattered lives. This powerful, harrowing document is testimony to the resilience and bravery of Gaza’s inhabitants as they try and rebuild their world.  Renowned filmmaker, drama therapist and the film’s Associate Producer, SALLY BAILEY, will be here to present the film. (Palestine, 95 mins.) Screens with CHALLENGING POWER by Johan Genberg. On July 15, 2010, the Olympia Food Co-op became the first grocery store in the United States to boycott Israeli products.  The board of directors made the consensus decision with encouragement from member activists. The Co-op has 15,000 members and operates two stores in Olympia, WA—the hometown of Rachel CorrieChallenging Power is a series of reflections on the decision to boycott, its significance, and the role it plays in the process of social change. (Palestine, 18 mins.)

Sunday, December 11 @ 8:30 p.m.

THE GREEN WAVE by Ali Samadi Ahadi. The Green Wave uses blog entries, tweets and cell phone video, along with eyewitness accounts, expert interviews and animated sequences to tell the story behind Iran’s youth-driven Green Revolution and the Government’s violent response. The film captures the spirit of hope and possibility that united the protesters and that has since spread across the Middle East. In countries like Iran, filmmakers have long learned they need to rely on other means rather than government controlled media outlets. Director Ali Samadi Ahadi used thousands of entries in Iranian blogs and social media websites to create two fictional characters, students whose hopes, fears and experiences with terror at the hands of government security thugs filter through the movie. These deeply moving fictional ‘storylines’ have been animated and supplemented with interviews with prominent human rights campaigners and exiled Iranians to complete a picture of the tragedy of the Green Revolution.  To watch powerful footage of Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution and events leading to the elections of June 12th that year is to feel the hope and the explosive energy of the people ready for a change from the oppressive regime. This is the story of crushed hope, but it is also the story of youth, their energy, their thirst for change and their endless inventiveness in finding new tools of a revolution.  (Iran, 80 mins.)

Monday, December 12 @ 6:00 p.m.

THE ART OF FLIGHT by David Anders Hutchins.  The documentary The Art Of Flight tells the story of refugees fleeing Sudan’s civil war for Egypt and one journalist’s struggle to get their story told. This feature-length film tells the story of three people who found themselves struggling to survive in Egypt – a U.S.-financed dictatorship which reluctantly became their home. The film delves deep into the nature of charity, the consequences of American empire and the price of transience.  (Egypt, 81 mins.)

Monday, December 12 @ 8:00 p.m.

OCCUPATION HAS NO FUTURE by David Zlutnick. In the Fall of 2009 a group of US veterans and war resisters traveled to Israel/Palestine to meet with their Israeli counterparts in an effort to strengthen connections and share experiences. Occupation Has No Future uses this trip as a lens to study Israeli militarism, examine the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and explore the work of Israelis and Palestinians organizing against militarism and occupation. Through conversations with Israeli conscientious objectors, former soldiers, and Palestinians living under occupation, Occupation Has No Future creates a survey of the current atmosphere in the State of Israel and the West Bank. The film explores the Israeli social environment that creates such heightened militarism and leads to attitudes of fear, exclusion, racism, and ultimately aggression; and examines the consequences of Israeli policies both for the Palestinian people as well as for Israeli civil society. Additionally, this documentary looks at the Israeli anti-militarist movement and those Israeli youth refusing conscription, refusing orders, and choosing to partner with a growing grassroots Palestinian campaign of civil disobedience to defeat the occupation. Honest about the extremely daunting challenges, Occupation Has No Future ultimately tracks the hope of a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians to live together, free from occupation, with peace and justice.  (Israel/Palestine, 84 minutes)

Tuesday, December 13 @ 6:00 p.m.

DAMASCUS WITH LOVE by Mohamad Abdulaziz. As she waits to leave Damascus, a young Jewish-Syrian girl, Rima, is confronted by a secret that will transport her into the past. Damascus with Love interweaves personal tales with the fortunes of an entire people against the backdrop of a multicultural city, rich in memories.  (Syria, 90 mins.)

Tuesday, December 13 @ 8:00 p.m.

HALF MG NICOTINE by Mohamad Abdulaziz. A varied cast of characters must each deal with emotional and spiritual challenges in their own way. There is the pious Muslim girl and her Christian lover who abandons her; the remorseful taxi driver, who murdered his daughter and repeatedly tried to commit suicide; the young shoe-shine boy who makes a tragic decision; and the elderly imam losing his sight. Their stories weave together in this thought-provoking film. (Syria, 97 mins.)

Wednesday, December 14 @ 6:00 p.m.

12 ANGRY LEBANESE by Zeina Daccache.  A theatre director specializing in working with disadvantaged and traumatized people, Zeina Daccache struggled to set up Lebanon’s first prison-based drama project in the country’s notorious Roumieh Prison. For 15 months, 45 inmates, some completely illiterate, found themselves working together to present an adaptation of the famous stage play ’12 Angry Men’, here re-named ’12 Angry Lebanese’. Through their newfound creative outlet, we witness the prisoners coalesce into a slick, professional ensemble. Inspiring and honest, this account of the prisoners’ journey demonstrates the positive effect of art therapy and the positive effect on some of the most ostracized individuals in society. Renowned filmmaker, drama therapist and the film’s Associate Producer, SALLY BAILEY, will be here to present the film.  (Lebanon, 85 mins.)

Wednesday, December 14 @ 8:00 p.m.

DOG SWEAT by Hoddein Keshavarz. Using the subversive urgency of cinéma vérité, the lives of six young people intertwine in present day Iran in this acclaimed docu-drama. Misunderstood by their families and oppressed by conservative Islamic society, they act out their personal desires behind closed doors. A feminist finds herself in an affair with a married man, new lovers search for a place to be physically intimate; a gay man is faced with an arranged marriage; a female pop singer risks exposure; and a grief-stricken son lashes out at fundamentalists. (Iran, 90 mins.)

Thursday, December 15 @ 6:00 p.m.

PASSION by Mohamed Malas. When her husband Adnan takes a second job as a cab driver, Imane discovers a new-found love for the music of legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum. As her infatuation grows, so does her affection for those around her, including her three children and her husband, who becomes increasingly suspicious and alarmed over the change in his wife’s behavior.  Adnan consults with his male relatives, and together they conclude that Imane must be in love with another man—and then the men must meet again to decide her fate.  Featuring terrific performances and based on a real incident, director Mohamed Malas’ riveting drama examines in meticulous detail the circumstances surrounding “crimes of honor” and the devastation they inflict on everyone involved. (Syria, 98 mins.)

Thursday, December 15 @ 8:00 p.m.

HELIOPOLIS by visiting Egyptian filmmaker Ahmad Abdallah. Cairo is a city immersed in ancient culture, which makes the Heliopolis district—colloquially known as New Cairo—an anomaly. Designed in 1905, it was intended to be spacious, sleek and luxurious, the face of a new, modern Egypt; it’s now the home of the presidential palace. In his striking feature debut, Ahmad Abdalla draws back the area’s veil of faded grandeur to reveal stories that deepen and broaden our understanding of one of the world’s great cities. Adopting a choral structure whereby characters and scenes echo and amplify each other, Abdalla follows a man trying to get a travel visa from the Canadian embassy; a hotel receptionist simmering in longing for the world beyond her front desk; a soldier posted outside a walled compound; and an elegant matron who shields her Jewish identity from her neighbours. Through contrasting portraits of unmet desire, Heliopolis explores how a single neighborhood can evoke the manifold complications and frustrations of modern Egypt. (Egypt, 96 mins.)

Friday, December 16 @ 6:00 p.m.

WOMAN by Ziad H. Hamzeh. Woman is a feature-length documentary based on the writings, lectures, and life of Nobel Prize nominee/activist Bouthaina Shaaban as she fearlessly champions awareness while advancing the cause of freedom for Arab women everywhere—from securing formal acknowledgements throughout the Arab world that women should be afforded basic human rights, to waging an international battle defending the integrity of the true Arab female, all accomplished with her firm hand of diplomacy and the power of her pen.  The film journeys back to Bouthaina’s beginning as a schoolgirl in a small obscure Syrian village to her evolution into a top international politician representing her country, while continuing her fight for female equality. Woman reveals Dr. Shaaban as an outspoken human rights activist and female leader living in a male dominated culture. Maintaining equilibrium between embracing the traditional values of Middle Eastern society and fighting for her deeply held belief that all people are created equal, she speaks out about the misconceptions of the female role in Islam.  (Syria, 91 mins.)

Friday, December 16 @ 8:00 p.m.

18 DAYS by visiting Egyptian filmmaker Ahmad Abdallah plus Sherif Arafa, Kamla Abou Zikri, Marwan Hamed, Mohamed Aly, Sherif El Bendari, Khaled Marei, Mariam Abou Ouf, Yousry Nasrallah and Ahmad Alaa. A group of ten directors, twenty or so actors, six writers, eight directors of photography, eight sound engineers, five set designers, three costume designers, seven editors, three post-production companies, and about ten technicians have agreed to act fast and shoot, with no budget and on a voluntary basis, ten short films about the January 25 revolution in Egypt. These are the 10 stories they experienced, heard, or imagined.  “Retention” by Sherif Arafa. The film revolves around a variety of characters of the Egyptian society who are patients at a mental institution from before the events of the Jan 25 revolution. We learn that some of them were forcefully admitted to the hospital by security police forces. As the events of the revolution begin, we start to reveal the reactions of the different characters towards the daily incidents and towards each other’s opinions.  The position of the hospital administration also plays a key symbolic role. “God’s Creation” by Kamal Abu Zikri.  How a girl who sells tea on the street joins the revolution, and how she finds in it a way out of her suppressed life. It changes the way she thinks and feels about things, even how she feels about the color of her hair. “19-19″ by Marwan Hamed.  A main revolution mastermind gets captured one day before the big day.  “When The Flood Hits you..” by Mohamed Aly.  How two men form a poor, marginalised social class try and make financial profit during the revolution from pictures and flags.  “Curfew” by Sherif El Bendari.  During the curfew , Ali and his grandfather get lost on the streets of suez city on their way home.  “Revolution Cookies” by Khaled Marei.  A young naïve man who suffers from diabetes and was in a coma for 4 days, goes to his shop on Friday 28th not knowing what has been going on since the 25th. He locks himself up in his shop for the whole 18 days, scared from going outside and not knowing what is happening. He decides to document what he is going through on tape cassettes.  “#Tahrir 2/2″ by Mariam Abou Ouf.  This film tells two stories that run parallel about two people who come from very different backgrounds and how by being on the square on the 2nd of Februrary changed their lives, maybe forever.  “Window” by Ahmad Abdallah.  “Window” tells the story of a young man, who lives in his bedroom, the changes he goes through and his reactions to the revolution he did not take part in,Going through many personal details, ‘Window’ reviews the main events in the Egyptian Revolution through Newspaper headlines & Facebook.  “Interior/Exterior” by Yousry Nasrallah.   The day following the infamous “Battle of the Camels” on Tahrir Square, Mona decides to join the demonstrators. Mustafa, her husband, tries to prevent her. Their marriage is about to break.  “Ashraf Seberto” by Ahmad Alaa.   The film tells the story of a barber whose shop suddenly turns into a field hospital treating protesters. (Egypt, 125 mins.)

Saturday, December 17 @ 2:30 p.m.

Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo a multi-media presention by visiting artists/filmmakers Anna Kipervaser & Rodion Ron Galperin.  Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo is a documentary initiative by On Look Films, examining the conflict between tradition and modernity in Cairo, Egypt as a 1,400 year-old oral tradition gets replaced by a wireless signal. Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo is a documentary about the adhan, or Muslim call to prayer, in Cairo, Egypt. The story develops through the interconnected lives of five characters as thousands of muezzins, those who recite the adhan in the mosque, get replaced by one, whose voice is transmitted through wireless receivers from a radio station studio. As the Adhan Unification Project begins in August 2010, Sheikh Shaaban anticipates the day when the wireless receiver is installed at his mosque and how his family will survive once his job is obsolete. Sheikh Rabbea loses his 22 year post as muezzin, but stays on as a worker in the mosque, hearing the voice from the radio coming through the loud speakers daily, in place of his own. Sheikh Mohamed continues to gain fame as he calls the adhan from Radio Cairo and is heard live throughout the city’s mosques, in people’s cars and homes. With the revolution and ongoing political transition, it is unclear when the project will pick up again, though Deputy Minister of Al-Awqaf Salem Abdel Galil keeps pushing it forward. Sheikh Said continues to recite various prayers at the famous Sultan Hassan Mosque to enrich the environment, enchanting the mosque’s daily international visitors, but his calling people to prayer is no longer needed. Writer, Producer Anna Kipervaser & Co-Producer, Multimedia Art Director Rodion Galperin present shorts and transmedia elements alongside a discussion of the in-production documentary project as On Look Films prepares to return to Cairo in January 2012 to complete production of the feature documentary film. Other aspects of the project include a 3D interactive multimedia library, audio archive, and multi-media art installation wherein the soundscape of Cairo is recreated in an exhibition space using recordings from 4,000-plus mosques, GPS coordinates, maps, speakers, videos, et al.   (Egypt, 75 mins.)

Saturday, December 17 @ 4:00 p.m.

FRAGMENTS OF A LOST PALESTINE by Norma Marcos. Art comes from the roots. Fragments of a Lost Palestine is a subjective journey, shot as fragmented memories of the director’s country of birth, Palestine, as remembered throughout years in exile. The film is above all an encounter with people—intellectuals, peasants, workers, and the director’s niece as she grows. When filmmaker Norma Marcos returns home to Palestine from France she is keen to show her friend Stefan how normal people try to live normal lives outside of the occupation. Through a series of conversations with friends, family and strangers she shows that despite the tense political environment, life goes on. (Palestine, 74 mins.)

Saturday, December 17 @ 5:30 p.m.

BEFORE YOUR EYES by Miraz Bezar. Ten year old Gulistan and her brother Firat live in the heart of Turkish Kurdistan. Tragedy strikes when their parents are shot down by paramilitary gunmen before their very eyes. Traumatized and orphaned, Gulistan and Firat try to care for their infant sister, but their money soon runs out and they’re forced onto the street.
It is there that Gulistan meets the part-time escort Dilara. Accompanying her on a hotel call one day, Gulistan is shocked to discover Dilara’s client is the murderer of her parents, and quickly devises a plan for revenge.  Winner Best Director, Music & Actress – Istanbul Film Festival.  It screens with the Turkish short film IT’S MY TURN by Ismet Ergon. A group of boys play a rhyming game to decide whose turn it is go to the movies, since they can only afford one ticket at a time. The rhythmic dialogue is intentionally left un-subtitled, allowing a universal story to spring forth naturally from the children’s lively actions. (Turkey, 111 mins.)

Saturday, December 17 @ 8:00 p.m.

MICROPHONE by visiting Egyptian filmmaker Ahmad Abdallah.  “It starts underground!” Microphone caused quite a stir in Egypt. It is seen as a film that virtually predicted the revolution, for whoever sees Microphone will realize that this state of affairs was untenable. Young people in Egypt were in turmoil. They wanted freedom and were fed up with control by the state and harassment by the police. Microphone, firmly established Abdalla as both a visionary and a major new voice in Arab cinema. Moulding elements of cinéma vérité into stylized cinematography, a striking counterbalance of looseness and composition further highlights the dense city backdrop of Alexandria, Egypt. Upon returning to his native Alexandria after travelling abroad in the United States for several years, Khaled (Khaled Abol Naga) discovers that time has altered and severed many of his prior relationships, namely between he and his former flame, Hadeer (Menna Shalabi). Feeling alone and dejected, Khaled wanders the city and quickly stumbles into a new world: the underground arts scene. As he becomes increasingly enchanted with this counterculture movement, Khaled crosses paths with street hip-hoppers, rooftop rockers, graffiti artists and documentary filmmakers. Captivated by this diverse intersection of creativity, he attempts to pull together his limited resources in the hopes of supporting the onslaught of fresh talent. It is not long before his professional and personal life become completely immersed in music, film and art, a movement all the more extraordinary for it having not emerged from Cairo, Egypt’s bustling capital city. In addition to stringing together vibrant characters and locales, Microphone is a rich depiction of some of the most exceptional non-professional musicians the city has to offer. Just as dazzling as the music they create, their performances come to life in the film’s myriad sequences of action shots. Abdalla overcomes the difficult task of juggling differing aesthetics and disciplines, and the outcome is a dynamic yet self-effacing travelogue that makes viewers feel as though they are right in the middle of the excitement. (Egypt, 120 mins.)

Sunday, December 18 @ 3:30 p.m.

DUBAI: A CITY OF DREAMS by Robert Tutak. The documentary DUBAI: A CITY OF DREAMS investigates the high human cost behind Sheikh Mohammad‘s ever-increasing efforts to fulfill his dream of transforming what was once a sleepy fishing village, into the ultimate 21st century destination.  Excess and extravagance have become synonymous with Dubai in the modern world and have put the Arab Emirate on the map as a vacation spot for the world’s wealthy elite. In just six years, Dubai has delivered the tallest building in the world, the most expensive hotel in the world, the biggest man-made island, the biggest shopping mall, the biggest airport and the longest fully automated metro. However, hidden away from the tourists, underneath the huge skyscrapers and luxurious hotels, lies the reality no one wants to acknowledge. These men work 12-16 hour shifts in often over one-hundred degree temperatures, make less than a dollar a day and live in slum-like gated labor camps. This is the reality for these laborers.  (United Arab Emirate, 76 mins.)

Sunday, December 18 @ 5:30 p.m.

TATTOOED EYE by Youmna Itani. Ibrahim, 17 years of age, lives on the fringes of society. He is a victim of poverty, drug abuse and domestic violence… His frequent spells in prison have made a lasting impression on his life…Sniffer, a young man, 18 years of age, is prey to the same torments and sense of destruction. The only way he can get what he wants is through violence. Racketeering earns him his daily bread.  Sniffer confronts Ibrahim to extract some money from him. Ibrahim refuses, puts up a fight and stabs his blackmailer. Upon reaching his home, Ibrahim is savagely beaten by his sadistic father. He flees his home and finds refuge in an abandoned car.  The dreams of these young people are no more than illusions and the laws that prevail in the environment in which they live pull them into an infernal machine without hope of escape.  (Lebanon, 30 mins.) Screens with MARIA’S GROTTO by Buthina Canaan Khoury. In some parts of Palestine, if a woman has a sexual relationship outside the bonds of marriage or is suspected of an extra-marital affair, she is considered to have brought dishonor upon her family, which is punishable by death. Commonly called “honor killings,” a relative usually carries out the sentence on behalf of the family, and the murder is committed without any legal consequences.  In her documentary, Palestinian filmmaker and activist Buthina Canaan Khoury weaves the moving stories of four women who’ve faced such a predication with that of a young woman who strives to expose the injustice of these crimes to wider society.  (Palestine, 52 mins.)

Sunday, December 18 @ 7:30 p.m.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  Our CLOSING NIGHT FILM is the Grand Jury Prize Winner @ Cannes 2011 by Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan (The Small Town, Clouds Of May, Distant, Climates and Three Monkeys). A murder has been committed and a man has confessed; all that remains is for him to lead police to the body so they can wrap the case. In the dead of night, two cars and a Jeep carrying the murderer, the police chief and the prosecutor set out to find the burial spot. As the small convoy inches its way through the darkness of the deserted countryside, it becomes clear that the killer can’t locate the place where he left his victim. Cigarettes are smoked; conversations occur and refresh­ments are served in a local village; nothing significant seems to happen. Yet whether we are aware of it or not, small clues are being planted along the way.  Like a game of chess, the grand design of this subtle and disturbing film comes increasingly into focus as events progress. Things are not always as they appear to be, and in Kafka-like gestures, people, emo­tions and events are developed in different and deeper ways. Once Upon A Time in Anatoliais ambiguous enough that we must concentrate on all the details of the canvas before the full story becomes apparent — or does it? A number of doors open teasingly, creating a labyrinthine world that mirrors our present incomprehension at so many contemporary events. What is truth and how we find it are some of the questions Ceylan raises in this superior exploration of a crime and its investigation. (Turkey, 157 mins.)

Following the film we announce the AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST DOCUMENTARY and then we will screen the AUDIENCE AWARD  WINNER – BEST SHORT as lagniappe, while we tabulate the final votes for the AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST FEATURE.

Festival Passes and Advanced Tickets – BUY NOW!

PREVIOUS FESTIVALS:

FOURTH NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL was NOVEMBER 26 through December 5, 2010This year’s festival coincided with the opening of the second INTERNATIONAL MUSLIM ARTISTS EXHIBITION 2010

which was be held @ Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center – November 28 through December 31, 2010

Fourth NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL
November 26 – December 5, 2010.

Presented by

Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 352-1150 http://www.zeitgeistinc.net rene@zeitgeistinc.net
http://nolamideastfilmfest.blogspot.com/

In any writing or screenwriting class you quickly learn that the most important element to any good story is conflict. In the Middle East, conflict is a more abundant natural resource than even oil. Presented by Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center and curated by Rene Broussard, this annual festival of films founded in 2007, explores the extremely rich and complex history, politics and culture of this volatile region.

Why the New Orleans Middle East Film Festival? Founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a city of refugees inside the United States, it soon became quite obvious the many parallels to our situation and the many conflicts of the Middle East. Issues such as class, racism, Human Rights, social justice, land grabs, Right of Return, environmental issues, etc. So with literally no money, partly as a diversion from our own problems and largely out of solidarity, the festival was born as a completely grassroots effort that continues to grow every year.

The 2009 festival featured 72 Acclaimed and Award-winning new films from or about Afghanistan, Anatolia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates shown over eleven nights with food, music, visual art and visiting filmmakers.

This year’s festival will coincide with the opening of the second INTERNATIONAL MUSLIM ARTISTS EXHIBITION 2010 in our gallery, being curated by Egyptian artist, Haithem Eid and will for the second year feature collaborative screenings with the Gaza International Documentary Film Festival.

The 2010 NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL features 55 Acclaimed and Award-winning new films from or about Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates shown over 10 nights with Middle Eastern food, music, dance, discussions, visual art, an impressive slate of visiting artists from all over the world and most films being either a U.S. or Southern Premiere.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

Friday, November 26:

6:00 p.m. – OPENING RECEPTION: 4th NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL + 2nd INTERNATIONAL MUSLIM ARTISTS EXHIBITION. Curated by Egyptian artist Haitham Eid.

8:00 p.m. – DARK CLOUD (Bahti Kara) (Turkey) U.S. Premiere.

9:30 p.m. – performance by contemporary dancer/choreographer of Palestinian/Syrian origin, LEYYA TAWIL from DANCE ELIXIR (San Francisco) and New Orleans musician DAVE EASLEY.

Saturday, November 27:

4:00 p.m. – LETTERS FROM MY NEW HOME (Lebanon)

5:30 p.m. – UNVEILED VIEWS: MUSLIM WOMEN ARTISTS SPEAK OUT (Turkey, Iran)

7:00 p.m. – THE SECRET WORLD by visiting Australian filmmaker Nicholas Rowe. U.S. Premiere. (Palestine)

9:00 p.m. – PEARLS ON THE OCEAN FLOOR (Iran)

Sunday, November 28:

4:30 p.m. – A ROAD TO MECCA (Middle East)

6:30 p.m. – TEHRAN HAS NO MORE POMEGRANATES (Iran)

8:00 p.m. – TO SHOOT AN ELEPHANT (Palestine. Gaza Strip. December 08 – January 09) (Palestine)

Monday, November 29:

7:00 p.m. – ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL (Turkey)

8:30 p.m. – TURKISH SHORTS (Turkey)

Tuesday, November 30:

7:00 p.m. – INSIDE THE CULTURE OF RESISTANCE: A Conversation With Suheir Hammad And Reg E. Gaines with INDECISIVE MOMENTS (Palestine)

9:00 p.m. – THE DANCING BOYS OF AFGHANISTAN (Afghanistan)

Wednesday, December 1:

7:00 p.m. – LIFESOURCE: FILLING POINT + BESIEGED WATERS with MEMORY OF THE CACTUS: A Story of Three Palestinian Villages (Palestine)

9:00 p.m. – TWO LEGGED HORSE (Iran)

Thursday, December 2:

7:00 p.m. – MIDDLE EASTERN SHORTS (Egypt, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Bahrain, United Arab Emerites)

9:00 p.m. – SOUNDS OF BEIRUT (Lebanon)

Friday, December 3:

7:00 p.m. – SCHEHERAZADE, TELL ME A STORY with THE MAID by visiting filmmaker Heidi Saman (Egypt)

Saturday, December 4:

5:30 p.m. – TEA ON THE AXIS OF EVIL (Syria)

7:00 p.m. – THE MIST: A Documentary About Life and Art in Iran by visiting Iranian filmmaker Dr. Maryam Habibian with BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY (Iran, Iraq, Syria)

8:30 p.m. – JERUSALEM MOMENT 2009: Seven documentary films by seven young directors, Palestinian and Israeli (Palestine, Israel)

Sunday, December 5:

2:00 p.m. – LEAPS AND BOUNDS (HOPPET) (Kurdistan, Iraq)

4:00 p.m. – AISHEEN (STILL ALIVE IN GAZA) (Palestine)

6:00 p.m. – RACHEL (Palestine)

8:00 p.m. – THE TIME THAT REMAINS by Elia Sulieman (Palestine) + Closing Reception

___________

Official Opening + Closing Night Events = $9 general / $8 students + seniors / $7 Zeitgeist members / Free to Festival Pass holders.

FESTIVAL PASSES: $70 general / $60 students + Seniors / $50 Zeitgeist Members. (includes admission to all festival events and a free festival poster designed by Syrian born artist Maece Seirafi)

Admission to all other festival events is:

$7 general / $6 students + seniors / $5 Zeitgeist members + children / Free Zeitgeist Patrons + Festival Passholders.

___________

Friday, November 26 @ 6:00 p.m.

OPENING RECEPTION: 4th NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL + 2nd INTERNATIONAL MUSLIM ARTISTS EXHIBITION. Curated by Egyptian artist Haitham Eid.

Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center hosts the 2nd International Muslim Artists Exhibition 2010 (IMAE2010) From November 26 – December 31, 2010 in conjunction with the 4th Annual New Orleans Middle East Film Festival. The opening reception is on November 26th at 6:00 P.M. The reception is free and open to the public.

The IMAE2010 features contemporary artwork created by 19 contemporary Muslim artists representing 5 countries: U.S.A, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. Paintings, photographs, graphic designs, ceramic and mixed media work are the mediums of the displayed work. More than 70% of the participants are female artists. Artists include:

Abdelrazek Eid (Egypt); Ameena Khan (FL. U.S.A.); Awais Yaqub (Pakistan); Ayesha Samadani (CA., U.S.A.); Haitham Eid (Egypt); Halide Salam (VA., U.S.A.); Huda Totonji (U.S.A. & Saudi Arabia); Iman Hasan (OH., U.S.A.); Maece Seirafi (CA., U.S.A.); Michael Klaus Schmidt (IL., U.S.A.); Mona Abdala (NJ., U.S.A.); Muhammad Ahmad (U.S.A. & Pakistan); Nadia Janjua (MD., U.S.A.); Reem Hammad (CA., U.S.A.); Salma Arastu (CA., U.S.A.); Sama Wareh (CA., U.S.A.); Sophia Sattar (CA., U.S.A.); Suzanne Wingate (New Zealand); Taslim Van Hattum (LA., U.S.A.) + “Prayer”, a cooperative artwork between Cara Greco, a non-Muslim artist and Haitham Eid, a Muslim artist and the exhibit curator, will also be on display. Haitham Eid said, “The IMAE2010 aims to serve as a bridge between cultures and to promote mutual understanding.” Eid also added, “The IMAE2010 is a collective effort from the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in our beloved city of New Orleans to help rebuild the city and strengthen the ties among our citizens.”

The IMAE2010 is sponsored by Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center, International Muslimah Artists Network and Baraka Institute. Rene Broussard, Executive Director of Zeitgeist said, “Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center is extremely proud and honored to present this international showcase of works by contemporary Muslim artists to coincide with the opening of our 4th Annual New Orleans Middle East Film Festival.” Broussard added, “Together with the International Muslim Artists Exhibition, Zeitgeist hopes to provide a vital and unique venue, an oasis if you will, to celebrate art and culture and for discourse and understanding.”

Friday, November 26 @ 8:00 p.m.

DARK CLOUD (Bahti Kara) by writer, director, editor & composer Theron Patterson. U.S. Premiere. What happens when an American filmmaker falls in love with Istanbul, moves there, and eventually shoots a feature film? Certainly not what you might expect. This is no touristic vision of an exotic elsewhere, blanketed with adventure and mystery. Rather, Dark Cloud offers something much more rare and powerful: a deeply moving study of grief and the daily battle to turn things around in a city that doesn’t always seem to care. Filmmaker Theron Patterson moved to Istanbul nearly a decade ago. He is clearly more interested in showing the city’s nooks, crannies, basement apartments and alleyways than in giving viewers picture postcards of the Hagia Sofia or the Bosphorous shore. His first feature revolves around Adnan (brilliantly portrayed by Reha Özcan), a middle-aged father who cannot recover from the loss of his wife and provide any kind of role model for his teenaged son, Burak (Kamer Celenk). As Adnan drifts through an emotional fog from one calamitous, bleakly comic mishap to another, Burak makes increasingly dangerous, antisocial mistakes that challenge his well-intended aunt and uncle’s ability to act as surrogate parent figures. Reha Özcan’s Adnan is a modern day Buster Keaton, with all of his slapstick charm and pathos Patterson’s shooting style is rare for an Istanbul film, revolving around generous amounts of improvisation that offer his actors room to breathe and take their time with scenes, glances and moments of genuinely awkward familial interaction. The film balances scruffy humour with a dreamy, distinctive shooting style, an absorbing audio soundtrack (orchestrated by Patterson) and an often surprisingly wry look at depression and loss. Focusing on the intimate tragicomedy of everyday existence, Patterson’s debut speaks to the thick skin and forgiving sense of humour that are needed to hold families together. Outrageously funny one minute and profoundly moving the next, this is what cinema was made for. Winner Best Film, Best Screenplay & Best Actor (Reha Özcan) Bursa Silk Road International Film Festival in Turkey. (Turkey, 90 mins.)

Following the Opening film DARK CLOUD, Zeitgeist is proud to present a performance by contemporary dancer/choreographer of Palestinian/Syrian origin, LEYYA TAWIL from DANCE ELIXIR (San Francisco) and New Orleans musician DAVE EASLEY.

LEYYA MONA TAWIL is the current Artist in Residence with Central City Artist Project. She is a contemporary dancer/choreographer and the Artistic Director of DANCE ELIXIR, based in San Francisco/Oakland. Tawil is an artist of Syrian/Palestinian origin. Her ongoing dance research on identity and expression has led to engagements in Ramallah, Damascus, Cairo, Amsterdam, and now New Orleans. Tawil’s performance on Opening Night will feature new collaborative work with local musician DAVE EASLEY (playing pedal steel with midi with a sitar bridge and tabla loops to create festive, Arabic inspire music).

FILMS:

Saturday, November 27 @ 4:00 p.m.

LETTERS FROM MY NEW HOME by Wissam Kabbara. In a time when Arab and American societies are clashing, an Arab-American turns to his aging grandmother in Lebanon to learn about his family and country of origin. Her account of those stories inspire his challenging and at times humorous journey to save money in order to finance, plan and orchestrate a once in a lifetime film shoot in Lebanon. By reuniting his family to create a film starring his grandmother, he will come to grips with his Arab roots and his life in the richest and most influential country in the world. (Lebanon, 64 minutes)

Saturday, November 27 @ 5:30 p.m.

UNVEILED VIEWS: MUSLIM WOMEN ARTISTS SPEAK OUT by Alba Sotorra. In this revealing documentary five extraordinary women talk about their occupations, aspirations, and the rights and status of women in their Muslim countries. Bosnian Alma Suljevic risks her life daily clearing the landmines near Sarajevo that are war’s deadly legacy, then sells minefield earth in European art galleries so that she can continue her work. Eren Keskin, a longtime human rights activist and lawyer with music conservatory training, fights to change Turkey’s legal practices that perpetuate violence against women. Veteran filmmaker Rakshan Bani-Ehmad, true to her credo that art must “look, observe, and discover”, frequently pushes Iran’s censorship rules to the limit. Surrounded by conflict since childhood, young Afghani writer Moshagan Saadat creates brave, profoundly moving and memorable poems. And renowned Pakistani dancer Nahid Siddiqui, once forced to live outside her homeland when her work was banned, continues to perfect, renew, and teach her art form. Captured by Spanish filmmaker Alba Sotorra, who hitchhiked from Barcelona to Pakistan to shoot Unveiled Views, these self-portraits of hope, heroism, and pride challenge conventional Western stereotypes about women in the Islamic world. (Turkey, Iran, 52 minutes)

Saturday, November 27 @ 7:00 p.m.

THE SECRET WORLD by visiting Australian filmmaker Nicholas Rowe. U.S. Premiere. The Secret World is a fiction feature film set in Ramallah. Adapting “Lord of the Flies”, William Golding’s classic, dark story of young British schoolboys on a deserted island who descend into brutality, The Secret World follows a group of Palestinian school children who wake up one day to find all the adults have disappeared. Confined in the West Bank by a massive encircling wall, they are left to form their own society and rules. Part mystery thriller, part political satire, The Secret World examines what happens to a society when it is cut off from both outside influences and its own heritage. As such it provides a fascinating doorway into issues such as democracy, human rights, social cooperation and rule of law – all through the eyes of children. (Palestine, 65 minutes)

Saturday, November 27 @ 9:00 p.m.

PEARLS ON THE OCEAN FLOOR by Robert Adanto. From the acclaimed director of The Rising Tide: Contemporary Chinese Art, comes his new documentary, which examines the lives and works of Iranian female artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic. The ubiquitous images of security forces cracking down on demonstrators in Iran garnered global media attention throughout the last twelve months. Last June all eyes were on the Islamic Republic of Iran as its citizens took to the streets to protest the results of a disputed election. Thirty years after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, a proud nation once again stood at a crossroads. The “Green Movement” built of a courageous populace seeking justice from an entrenched and imploding regime continues to seek change in Iran, despite shockingly brutal government forces. There is no better time than the present to examine this fascinating nation and no better approach than through the visual imagery of female artists. It is women who have collectively bore the brunt of an oppressive regime and the bias of a western media that has repeatedly constructed one-dimensional images portraying them as humorless, repressed, second-class citizens in black chadors. Robert Adanto’s Pearls on the Ocean Floor challenges this stereotype and caricature obscuring the vibrant and robust culture in Iran and its diaspora. Professor Hamid Dabashi recently wrote, “a much more patient reading of the visual and performing arts of this generation is needed before we know what in the world it is doing.” Indeed, as the younger generation invents a new identity for the 21st century, replacing the religious ideology and revolutionary fervor of the state’s credo, contradictions abound. Photographer Shadi Ghadirian explains that her work “touches upon our struggle to hold on to our parents’ and grandparents’ traditional values and practices while experiencing the benefits of modernity without getting caught up in its vices… Change is an inevitable process,” she says. Facing issues of identity, gender, and social restrictions, the artists featured in Pearls on the Ocean Floor speak with a compelling quiet reserve and a striking boldness. Their work reveals encounters between religion and secular modernity, change and tradition, contemporary life and history. These brave women know now more than ever that their voices must be heard and their people understood. Through their words and their art, the real Iran will be discovered and this important historical moment has been documented. Featuring Negar Ahkami, Gohar Dashti, Perastou Forouhar, Shadi Ghadirian, Maryam Homayoun-Eisler, Afsoon, Malekeh Naniny, Bahar Sabzevari, Shadi Yousefian, Shirin Neshat, Haleh Anvari, Leila Pazooki, Afshan Ketabchi, Sara Rahbar, Pooneh Maghazehe, Mona Hakimi-Scheuler and Taravat Talepasand. (Iran, 77 minutes)

Sunday, November 28 @ 4:30 p.m.

A ROAD TO MECCA by Georg Misch. In the early 1920s Leopold Weiss, a Viennese Jew, alienated by the materialism and spiritual emptiness of the West, travelled to the Middle East, visiting Jerusalem, Egypt, the Transjordan and Saudi Arabia. After studying the Koran, he left his Jewish roots behind, converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Asad. Asad (1900-1992) became one of the most important Muslims of the 20th century, spreading its message of peace and brotherhood as a journalist and author of books such as Islam at the Crossroads, The Principles of State and Government in Islam and his autobiography, The Road to Mecca. He served as an advisor to the royal court of Saudi Arabia and was a co-founder of Pakistan and its Ambassador to the U.N. A ROAD TO MECCA traces his spiritual journey, from the Arabian desert to Ground Zero, visiting the places where Asad lived and traveled. Archival footage and photos and excerpts from Asad’s writings are blended with contemporary interviews with writers, historians, scholars, and his friends and associates, revealing Asad’s legacy as a modern theological thinker. In portraying the lifelong evolution of the philosophy of Muhammad Asad, who sought to be a mediator between East and West, A ROAD TO MECCA provides a portrait of contemporary Islam, challenging deeply rooted Western prejudices by revealing the distance between fundamentalist beliefs that support terrorism and the core beliefs of a profoundly humane religion. (92 minutes)

Sunday, November 28 @ 6:30 p.m.

TEHRAN HAS NO MORE POMEGRANATES by Massoud Bakhshi. In this experimental documentary, viewers are invited to watch the evolution of Tehran from its inception to it’s transformation into the capitol of the Islamic Republic and one of the most polluted cities on the planet. A postmodern documentary that is as witty and engaging as it is informative. The style of the film is fun and very visual, using incredible archival footage, an original visual approach and terrific soundtrack that takes us through 150 years of Tehran’s history. (Iran, 68 minutes)

Sunday, November 28 @ 8:00 p.m.

TO SHOOT AN ELEPHANT (Palestine. Gaza Strip. December 08 – January 09) by Alberto Arce and Mohammad Rujailah. “To shoot an elephant” is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians. Gaza Strip has been under siege since June 2007, when Israel declared it an “enemy entity”. A group of international activists organized a siege-breaking movement, the Free Gaza movement. Thanks to their efforts, and despite the Israeli ban on foreign correspondents and humanitarian aid workers to cover and witness operation “Cast Lead” on the ground, a group of international volunteers: self organized members of the International Solidarity Movement were present in Gaza when the bombing started on December, 27th 2009. Together with two international correspondents from Al Jazeera International (Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros), they were the only foreigners who managed to write, film and report for several radio stations what was happening inside the besieged Palestinian strip. Were they journalists? Were they activists? They became witnesses. “Forget about neutrality. Forget about objectivity. We are not Palestinians. We are not Israelis. We are not impartial. We only try to be honest and report what we see and what we know. I am a journalist. If somebody listens, I am a journalist. In Gaza´s case, no “official journalists” were authorized to enter Gaza (apart from those who were already inside) so we became witnesses. With a whole set of responsibilities as regarding to it. I have always understood journalism as “a hand turning the lights on inside the dark room”. A journalist is a curious person, an unpleasant interrogator, a rebel camera and a pen making those in power feel uncomfortable. And that is the concept of my work in Gaza: To fulfill a duty in the most narrated conflict on earth, where the story of the siege and the collective punishment that is being imposed by Israel on the whole population of the territory in retaliation for rockets sent by Hamas will never be told with enough accuracy. For this it has to be lived.” This is an embedded film. We decided to be “embedded within the ambulances” opening an imaginary dialogue with those journalists who embed themselves within armies. Everyone is free to choose the side where they want to report from. But decisions are often not unbiased. We decided that civilians working for the rescue of the injured would give us a far more honest perspective of the situation than those whose job is to shoot, to injure and to kill. We prefer medics rather than soldiers. We prefer the bravery of those unarmed rescuers than those with -also interesting, but morally rejectable experiences who enlist to kill. It is a matter of focus. I am not interested in the fears, traumas and contradictions of those who have a choice: the choice of staying home and saying no to war. (Palestine. 113 minutes)

Monday, November 29 @ 7:00 p.m.

ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL by Orhan Esikoy + Ozgur Dogan. This acclaimed documentary from Turkey portrays one year in the life of a young Turkish teacher who is forced to become an exile in his own country, when he is sent to teach the Turkish language to Kurdish children in a remote village. The children can’t speak Turkish. The teacher can’t speak Kurdish. The film witnesses the communication problem emphasizing the loneliness of a teacher in a different community and culture; and the changes brought up by his presence into this different community during one year. The film chronicles his interactions with the children over one school year. During this period, they begin to know and understand each other mutually and slowly. (Turkey, 81 minutes)

Monday, November 29 @ 8:30 p.m.

TURKISH SHORTS. This program of 8 shorts explores the intellectual conditioning of children and teenagers through both the educational system and contemporary Turkish society at large. Through a variety of styles and approaches, each of these works elude to the conditioning of youth including references to the seemingly innocent daily repetition of the national anthem (The First Ones by Hatice Güleryüz), more violent military methods (Origin by Erkan Özgen), and social injustice (Our village by Sener Özmen). From the privacy of home (A young girl is growing up by Ferhat Özgür) to public spaces (On the thin ice by Burçak Kaygun), several processes are at play, subtly or directly, through the women’s prison featured in (Koro by Güldem Durmaz) or the school in (Where Bluebirds fly by Berat Isik). Beyond that lies a reflection on the impact of the world and on the development of an individual such as with the video (Delirium by Ethem Özgüven) confronting the mechanisms of the consumer society and its psychological consequences. (Turkey, 86 minutes)

Tuesday, November 30 @ 7:00 p.m.

INSIDE THE CULTURE OF RESISTANCE: A Conversation With Suheir Hammad And Reg E. Gaines by Jen Marlowe & Connie Julian. This documentary looks at the work of Palestinian-American poet, author, actress and political activist Suheir Hammad (who came to Zeitgeist last March to present the film Salt of This Sea, which she starred in). The film features one of Hammad’s affecting public presentations of her work at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York City. Presenting some of her most compelling early work—including pieces written in response to 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, the 1999 police murder of Amadou Diallo and the death of Rachel Corrie—Suheir Hammad’s performances are inter-cut with a discussion about her work with fellow performer reg e. gaines. Born to Palestinian refugee parents in Amman, Jordan, Suheir Hammad’s family immigrated to Brooklyn when she was just five years old. Suheir has traveled the world with her poetry, reading in Ivy League universities and on the street corners of Brooklyn—with her work appearing both in award-winning anthologies and in zines stapled together by queer youth collectives. Her books acclaimed include Zaatar Diva, Breaking Poems and Born Palestinian, Born Black. (Palestine, 58 minutes)

Screens with

INDECISIVE MOMENTS by Larry Towell. INDECISIVE MOMENTS is the personal video diary of legendary Magnum photographer Larry Towell, made in the Occupied Territories. It bridges the gap between artist and journalist, bringing the viewer inside Towell’s highly stylized world. Larry Towell’s business card reads “Human Being”. Like Robert Doisneau, he is one those rare photojournalists who travels reluctantly and only when the subject really matters. Experience as a poet and a folk musician did much to shape his personal style, and wherever he travels, Towell concentrates on finding and photographing intimacy. Co-sponsored by PhotoNOLA. (Palestine, 40 minutes)

Tuesday, November 30 @ 9:00 p.m.

THE DANCING BOYS OF AFGHANISTAN by Najibullah Quraishi & Jamie Doran. Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi (Behind Taliban Lines) returns to his native land to expose an ancient practice that has been brought back by powerful warlords, former military commanders and wealthy businessmen. Known as “bacha bazi” (literal translation: “boy play”), this illegal practice exploits street orphans and poor boys, some as young as 11, whose parents are paid to give over their sons to their new “masters.” The men dress the boys in women’s clothes and train them to sing and dance for the entertainment of themselves and their friends. The dancing boys are often used sexually by these powerful men. In detailed conversations with several bacha bazi masters in northern Afghanistan and with the dancing boys they own, reporter Quraishi reveals a culture where wealthy Afghan men openly exploit some of the poorest, most vulnerable members of their society. This acclaimed documentary was produced by PBS, Frontline. (Afghanistan, 60 minutes)

Wednesday, December 1 @ 7:00 p.m.

LIFESOURCE is a Palestinian-led collective of people who recognize it is crucial to address the current and unfolding regional water crisis immediately – on the humanitarian level, the environmental level, and the political level. We are launching a campaign of popular research, popular education and popular action, with the goal of motivating communities to engage in their own analysis of information and direct their own courses of learning and action. SUSAN KOPPELMAN, LIFESOURCE Project Manager will be here to screen two of their new films and lead a discussion on water rights and grassroots activist strategies.

FILLING POINT by Pietro Bellorini and LifeSource. Two neighboring Palestinian communities in South Hebron, As-Samu’a (20,000 people) and Imneizel (500 people) suffer from bizarre restrictions imposed by Israel on the development of their basic water infrastructure. After years of negotiations, As-Samu’a was permitted to access some limited additional quantities of water, but on the condition that this water not be distributed to residents through their existing internal piped water distribution network. 30 rainwater harvesting cisterns have been isolated from Imneizel village by the Segregation Wall. These and other Israeli violations of Palestinians’ human right to water are making it increasingly difficult for Palestinians to access the basic necessities for life and to stay on their land. (Palestine, 16 minutes)

BESIEGED WATERS by Lana Hijabi and Lifesource. The ongoing Israeli siege is having a negative affect on drinking water quality in the Gaza Strip. Desalination plants are coming to a halt due to a lack of materials and equipment caused by the blockade. Many people in Gaza have no option but to drink their unhealthy ground water, which causes a number of health problems, including kidney stones and kidney failure. (Palestine, 11 minutes)

Screens with

MEMORY OF THE CACTUS: A Story of Three Palestinian Villages by Hanna Musich. This documentary reveals the true story behind Israel’s “Canada Park”, a story of dispossession, destruction and continuing displacement. 41 years ago, the three Palestinian villages of ‘Imwas, Yalo and Beit Nouba in the Latroun enclave of the West Bank were razed to the ground after Israel occupied the territory. Today, the residents of those villages remain displaced and barred from returning, while Israel treats the land as if it were part of Israel and refuses to acknowledge the Palestinian history of the area. Israeli citizens enjoy barbecues and picnics in the Jewish National Fund’s “Canada Park”, oblivious to the crimes perpetrated in their names on that very land. The film follows two separate but parallel journeys. Aisha Um Najeh takes us down the painful road that Palestinians have been forcefully pushed down, separating them in time and place from the land they nurtured; while Israelis walk freely through that land, enjoying its fruits. The stems of the cactus, however, conceal the reality of the crime committed. (Palestine, 42 minutes)

Wednesday, December 1 @ 9:00 p.m.

TWO LEGGED HORSE by Samira Makhmalbaf. The days of sweet little children’s films from Iran about white balloons, goldfish and running shoes are officially over. This look at childhood in decidedly sadistic and extremely disturbing. Makhmalbaf’s daring film explores the controversial topic of victimization with this tale of a physically disabled Afghani boy (Haron Ahad) who humiliates and abuses the homeless, mentally disabled boy hired to help him become more mobile. In a remote region of Afghanistan, underprivileged children seek shelter under an elaborate maze of abandoned sewer pipes. Mirvais is one of these children. Though Mirvais (Ziya Mirza Mohamad) is happy to find work carrying around a disabled boy around on his back, he begins to question his duties when his young master attempts to expand his otherwise simple job description. Over time, a sado-masochistic relationship develops between the two boys. “I want to know how far a relationship between two people can go. On one hand, two people go all the way to the ultimate love and friendship and sacrifice for each other and on the other hand, one exploits the other like an animal. Meanwhile, through this film I attempt to discover the edge of human tolerance and how much can a human bear to meet his needs and become transformed. Let’s ask ourselves how many times has each of us become somebody else’s horse? Or used someone as our horse?” – Samira Makhmalbaf. (Afghanistan, Iran, 101 minutes)

Thursday, December 2 @ 7:00 p.m.

MIDDLE EASTERN SHORTS. Featuring works from a variety of cultural and disciplinary backgrounds, these intimate, poetic and documentary works are witness to the region’s complexity, vitality and diversity of creative energies. Distanced from the usual stereotypes, the artists aim to explore existential, political and aesthetic issues of our times while opening up to new narrative perspectives that break with our media’s monotonous and repetitive imagery. They present us with new perspectives on time and space, movement and memory, history and personal experience, without neglecting the place of women in society. Featuring: 3494 HOUSES + 1 FENCE by Mireille Astore + Fabian Astore (Lebanon); WE BEGAN BY MEASURING DISTANCE by Basma Alsharif (Palestine); RUN LARA RUN by Larissa Sansour (Palestine); THIS SMELL OF SEX by Danielle Arbid (Lebanon); COLORED PHOTOGRAPH by Waheeda Malullah (Bahrain); REVOLUTION by Khaled Hafez (Egypt); CALL ME BREAKSTEIN by Sameer Al Jaberi (U.A.E.); THE BARBERSHOP by Natalie Al Shami (U.A.E.); OF FISH AND MEN by Rola Shamas (U.A.E.); TOUCH WOOD by Amna Ehtesham (U.A.E.); VUVUZELA by John Greyson (Palestine/Canada); HEY ELTON by John Greyson (Palestine/ Canada) plus NEW HORIZANS: THE FIRST FEMALE MECHANIC by Aref Mohammadi. (Iran/Canada) and Ken, Tov, Beseder (yes, good, all right) by B.H.Yael (the Israeli/Canadian filmmaker from Toronto, presented her Palestine Trilogy at last year’s festival) (Palestine/Canada) (100 minutes)

Thursday, December 2 @ 9:00 p.m.

SOUNDS OF BEIRUT by Seth Koury. Sounds of Beirut is a documentary that was filmed weeks after a major armed conflict that nearly cast the country back into civil war as militias battled on the streets of Beirut. The film explores how the past civil war conflicts and current tensions have influenced local artists to create music, what the music means to them, an what it means to their audience. The scene is very diverse with genres ranging from pop, hip-hop, opera, classical, traditional Arabic and acoustic to rock performed in three languages: French, Arabic and English. The film explores the upbeat atmosphere in Beirut through the influences behind the vibrant and diverse music scene despite the city’s troubled past and uncertain future. Seth Koury is a filmmaker in Los Angeles, who is also a former amateur wrestling and boxing champion. (Lebanon, 55 minutes)

Friday, December 3 @ 7:00 p.m.

SCHEHERAZADE, TELL ME A STORY by Yousry Nasrallah. Cairo, today. Hebba, a television-speaker, presents a successful political talk show on a privately owned network. Karim, her husband, is deputy editor in chief of a government-owned newspaper. His ambition is to become editor in chief. He is led to believe by the Party big shots, that his wife’s constant meddling with opposition politics could put his promotion in danger. Using his boyish charm and sexual prowess, he convinces Hebba to stay away from politics, and devote her program to social issues for which the government cannot be held responsible. She starts a series of talk shows around issues involving women. She listens to the stories of resilient, strong women, who, like Scheherazade in “A Thousand and One Nights”, tell their stories to stay alive. Hebba knows, of course, that women’s issues are political. But she could not imagine up to which extent. Gradually, she finds herself walking in a minefield of abuse, sexual, religious, social and political repression that lead to the break-up of her marriage. From storyteller, Hebba herself becomes a story. “More than 70 percent of Egyptian households depend on women’s work. Rather than accept this reality, and accordingly accept women as equals, society is constantly pressuring women into showing more submission” writes Yousry Nasrallah in his production notes. “Formally, this paradox has allowed me to restore (and subvert) a link with a wonderful tradition in Egyptian Cinema: the superb melodramas and the gorgeous women, who allowed audiences to emote, think and enjoy films for over a hundred years.” Cameron Bailey, Co-Director of the Toronto Film Festival writes “Fluid, handsome and gorgeous to behold, Scheherazade, tell me a story is a polished piece of Egyptian storytelling – polished to an edge. Nasrallah proves himself a master of compelling narrative that carries a strong social critique. Provocative and audacious in its exploration of how men and women shape each other’s lives in today’s Cairo, Scheherazade, tell me a story marks an important addition to the canon of Egyptian cinema.” (Egypt, 135 minutes)

Screens with

THE MAID by visiting Egyptian filmmaker HEIDI SAMAN. Rasha is an Egyptian housemaid who is not so skilled at her job. When Rasha’s suspicions of her employers are strangely confirmed, she must come to terms with her perceptions of trust, duty, and her place within the family household. “Heidi Saman shows an astonishing feel for the medium, whether bringing to life the power of young love in an intensely intimate and sweet nighttime meeting in which the characters never even touch, or portraying an old woman who sings an endlessly repeating verse of longing as she moves through a web of clotheslines.” (Egypt, 19 minutes)

Saturday, December 4 @ 5:30 p.m.

TEA ON THE AXIS OF EVIL by Jean Marie Offenbacher. In 2003, the Bush Administration and the US media began referring to Syria and Iran in the same terms that had been used to justify the US invasion of Iraq. As a result, it was becoming ever more possible that attempts to destabilize Syria and Iran would have proceeded unopposed by a misinformed American public. After hearing reports about the friendliness of the Syrian people that conflicted with what was being presented in the news, filmmaker Jean Marie Offenbacher decided that this contradiction deserved further exploration. She moved to Syria—alone—to record a portrait of life from all across the country, from the rural regions to the large urban centers and even to the halls of power in Damascus. By presenting Syrians from all walks of life as they converse about their daily lives and discuss such topics as cultural tradition, globalism, religion and education—to name just a few—Tea on the Axis of Evil makes the moderate, genial voices of the Syrian people available for the rest of the world to hear. (Syria, 67 minutes)

Saturday, December 4 @ 7:00 p.m.

THE MIST: A Documentary About Life and Art in Iran by visiting Iranian filmmaker Dr. Maryam Habibian. In spite of the social limitations and political conflict, Iran today is alive with youthful energy. With over seventy percent of the population under 40 years of age, a new culture of art, literature, and ideas has taken root and is flourishing, side by side with fundamentalist traditions. Through a series of interviews with painters, poets, intellectuals, and students, Iranian-born ex-patriot filmmaker Maryam Habibian uncovers a reality very different from the monolithic media imagery that currently dominates U.S. thought and policy. The Mist is an eloquent call for understanding of a society, which, for all its undeniable contrasts and contradictions, is not so different after all. (Iran, 46 minutes)

Screens with

BETWEEN SKY AND EARTH by Kalyanee Mam & David Mendez. Inspired by a quest for truth and a passion to connect with Iraqis during a war that saw no end, Between Earth & Sky is a poetic journey into the lives of three, young Iraqi refugee artists, struggling to find hope through art. With dignity and candor, Saoud, Haneen, and Rahman, reveal the lives they lost in Baghdad, the lives they are now forced to live in their host countries, and the new life of beauty and freedom they long for every day. Rahman works as a clown in Syria, bringing love and laughter to young Iraqi refugee children. Haneen paints her memories, recalling the beauty of Iraqi women. Saoud, straddles the border between childhood and adolescence as he ponders his identity amidst the changes that force him to grow up. In this remarkable film about renewal, hope, and destiny, all three, express their passion for art and for life with laughter, humility, and resilience. (Iran, Iraq, Syria, 30 minutes)

Saturday, December 4 @ 8:30 p.m.

JERUSALEM MOMENT 2009: Seven documentary films by seven young directors, Palestinian and Israeli, reflecting the complexity of life in Jerusalem, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They courageously confront the delicate and charged issues and present personal and political points of view about the reality in Jerusalem today. The seven documentaries are Prince of Jerusalem by Momen Shabane (16 min); The Little Western Wall by Liviu Babich, (14 min); Hamamm al-Ayn and Me by Nihad Sabri Markesto, (8 min); Ghetto Town by Amber Fares and Avi Goldstein (11 min); Bus by Yasmine Novak (10 min); In Israel’s Custody by Radwan Duha, (14 min); Nine to Five by Daniel Gal (17 min). (Israel, Palestine, 88 minutes)

Sunday, December 5 @ 2:00 p.m.

LEAPS AND BOUNDS (HOPPET) by Petter Naess. From the Academy Award nominated director of Elling, comes this delightful, children’s film set in the Kurdistan region in Iraq and Sweden. 12-year-old Azad (Ali Abdulslam) and his younger brother Tigrit (Ronas Gemici), survived a bomb attack while playing on the countryside hills. Their parents can only consider one resolution: they have to get their children out of the country, so they can finally get the chance to live a safe and more fortunate life. Azad loves competing in the high jump, and his greatest hero is Kajsa Bergqvist. The destination of the two brothers is set with the smugglers for their family in Germany, but they finally get stuck in Stockholm after they have been betrayed by a family who takes them in order to get the additional government subsidy that Sweden’s social services offers to refugees. Although the two boys try to make friends in the new country, they never give up the hope of reuniting with their family in Berlin. Suitable for young children, but does have subtitles. (Kurdistan, Iraq, 85 minutes)

Sunday, December 5 @ 4:00 p.m.

AISHEEN (STILL ALIVE IN GAZA) by Nicolas Wadimoff. “Where’s the ghost town?”, asked the little boy to the theme park attendant. “It’s there, right there. But it has been bombed… Do you want to see it?” It is with these words that the film begins – an impressionist journey through a devastated Gaza after the war. The ghost town? Gaza is the ghost town. A powerful, searing documentary about daily life in Gaza as seen through the eyes of it’s young children. Traveling the limited confines of the Gaza Strip, Wadimoff visits some unusual places, including a beach, a zoo, a radio station, a children’s recreation center and an amusement park. More disturbingly, he shows the massive chaos at a U.N. food distribution site, and missiles still exploding by the smugglers’ underground tunnels near the Egyptian border. Despite their exhaustion, the people he films display ingenious ways of adapting and persevering, while matter-of-factly expressing their feelings about the Israelis and Palestinian politicians. Excellent music track by local rap group DARG Team epitomizes Gaza’s mood of misery, defiance and hope with their lyrics. (Palestine, Qatar, 86 minutes)

Sunday, December 5 @ 6:00 p.m.

RACHEL by Simone Bitton. RACHEL is a startlingly rigorous, fascinating and deeply moving investigatory documentary that examines the death of peace activist and International Solidarity Movement (ISM) member Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003. A few weeks after her little-reported death, an inquiry by Israeli military police concluded that Corrie died in an accident. Simone Bitton (WALL), an award-winning documentary filmmaker who is a citizen of both France and Israel, has crafted a dispassionate but devastating essay investigating the circumstances of Rachel Corrie’s death—including astounding eyewitness testimony from activists, soldiers, Israeli Defense Force army spokespersons and physicians, as well as insights from Corrie’s parents, mentors and diaries. In assembling a thorough and candid account of the event, using both visual and narrative evidence, Bitton’s quietly persistent questioning manages to accomplish what the inadequate legal proceedings and the overheated press coverage did not: an unflinching examination that refuses to exculpate or equivocate. By aligning her filmmaking methodology with the ISM’s guidelines to state only objective and concrete details without placing judgment, Bitton examines the circumstances surrounding the unresolved case of Corrie’s death. The film begins like a classic documentary, but soon develops, transcending its subject and establishing a candid new visual approach for bearing witness. With understated cinematic techniques, Bitton captures the spirit of Rachel’s youth, idealism, and political commitment amidst sweeping landscapes of Gaza and a portrait of daily life under ever-present military aggression. (Palestine, 100 minutes)

Sunday, December 5 @ 8:00 p.m.

THE TIME THAT REMAINS by Elia Sulieman. Written and directed by Palestinian actor/director Elia Suleiman (Chronicle of a Disappearance, Divine Intervention), The Time That Remains is a semi-autobiographical series of tragi-comic vignettes, drawn from Suleiman’s family history and his own experiences of growing up as an Arab in Israel. The film is nominally split into four separate time periods: in 1948, Fuad (Saleh Bakri, Salt of This Sea and The Band’s Visit) makes guns for the resistance and has run-ins with the Israeli army; in 1970, Fuad’s young son Elia (Ayman Espanioli) gets into trouble at school and observes the goings-on of his weird neighbours; in 1976, Fuad is recovering from surgery while violent anti-Israeli protests rage outside and Elia has to leave the country; and in the present day, Elia (now played by Suleiman) returns to Israel to take care of his ageing mother. Saleh Bakri’s taut, wiry frame brings a quirky, almost cartoonish quality to the early action sequences and the sight of him running along the streets is one of several memorable images. These scenes are heightened by the Suleiman’s minimal use of dialogue, all of which adds to the Jacques Tati-like atmosphere of the film (an acknowledged influence). There’s no real plot to speak of, but there are several wonderful scenes, the best of which employ a Tati-influenced streak of absurd humour. Highlights include: the barrel of a tank following a man back and forth as he empties his bins and then paces up and down while talking on his mobile; police attempting to break up a rave but failing to make themselves heard over the music and Elia fantasizing about a Keaton-esque pole-vault over the Separation Wall. “The Time That Remains is a semi-autobiographical film, in four episodes, about a family, my family, from 1948 until recent times. The film is inspired by my father’s private diaries, starting from when he was a resistance fighter in 1948, and by my mother’s letters to family members who were forced to leave the country. Combined with my intimate memories of them and with them, the film attempts to portray the daily life of those Palestinians who remained and were labeled “Israeli-Arabs”, living as a minority in their own homeland” – Elia Suleiman. (Palestine/Israel, 109 minutes) + a special encore screening of the AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER for BEST SHORT.

Following THE TIME THAT REMAINS there will be a Closing Night Reception featuring food from Palestinian owned restaurant ATTIKI which will conclude with the announcement of our 2010 AUDIENCE AWARDS for BEST SHORT, BEST DOCUMENTARY and BEST FEATURE. And winners of our 2010 Festival Raffle.

Closing Night Film + Reception = $9 general / $8 students + seniors / $7 Zeitgeist members / Free to Festival Pass holders.

Admission to all other festival events is:

$7 general / $6 students + seniors / $5 Zeitgeist members + children / Free Zeitgeist Patrons + Festival Passholders

Please Note: This festival, like all of Zeitgeist’s programming, is presented annually without any grants or public funds. The festival, like all of Zeitgeist’s programming, is also presented without any paid staff. We are all volunteers. Donations are greatly needed and appreciated. Please show your support.

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To see the schedules from our previous three festivals please scroll down…

For info on Zeitgeist please go to http://www.zeitgeistinc.net

Formats: all work in the festival is screened on DVCAM, Mini-dv, BLU-RAY, DVD, VHS, or 16mm. Multi-media installations and/ or performances are also welcome.

Submissions: Please send screeners along with all pertinent information before September 30, 2010. Arab, Persian or Middle Eastern musicians interested in performing during the festival are also welcome. We are on a very tight budget, but if needed, please contact us to request our Federal Express account to cover shipping of your submission.

Send all submissions to:

Rene Broussard
Zeitgeist inc.
1619 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 352-1150

rene@zeitgeistinc.net
http://www.zeitgeistinc.net

Please note: We are currently looking for a Middle Eastern artist to help us design our festival poster and trailer. We have a really simple, great concept, but would really like to have a Middle Eastern artist to create it for the festival. As well as volunteers to help translate our schedule into Arabic and Farsi and to help promote the festival to the local Arab and Persian American communities and for Q & A’s with visiting filmmakers during the festival. If you are interested please contact Rene (see above).

The Festival is a grassroots effort. We operate without any paid staff or public funds.

SPONSOR THE FESTIVAL:

You can purchase an advanced Festival pass for only $100 or $150 for a couple (includes admission to all festival events). You or your business can sponsor a film for a donation of $250 or sponsor the festival for a donation of $500, $1000 or more. Sponsors get free festival passes, their logo and/or name on all festival printed literature and merchandise, reserved VIP seating, ability to table or sell merchandise during the festival and your logo acknowledgement on the festival trailer, website and t-shirt.

Or simply make a donation.

see the call for submissions in farsi on kodoom (world’s Only search engine of news and events related to Iran)
http://features.kodoom.com/entertainment/فراخوان-فستیوال-فیلم-خاورمیانه-ای-نیواورلانز/v/1864/

In response to our CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS, Toronto based filmmaker/activist JOHN GREYSON sent me the youtube link for his latest short film, HEY ELTON, which attempts to explain the thinking behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which uses models from the ant-apartheid movement in South Africa to place International pressure on Israel to allow humanitarian relief and supplies to the people of Gaza and to end the occupation in Palestine. I hope you watch it.

here is a video from the New Orleans Palestine Solidarity showing over 200 activists marching in the French Quarter to “Free Gaza” on Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Third Annual

NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE FILM FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 12 through 22, 2009

@ Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center

1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70113

(504) 827-5858 (recording) (504) 352-1150 (real person)
http://www.zeitgeistinc.net

This year’s film festival featured 72 Acclaimed and Award-winning new films from or about Afghanistan, Anatolia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates shown over eleven nights with food, music, and visual art.

2009 NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS:

BEST FEATURE – AMREEKA by Cherien Dabis

BEST DOCUMENTARY – CITY OF BORDERS by Yun Suh

BEST SHORT – ROUGH CUT by

GAZA FILM FEST AWARD – THE EXODUS & THE ODYSSEY

photo above: from visiting Palestinian/Canadian filmmaker Tagreed Saadeh’s documentary on Gaza – ROUGH CUT.
_______________________________

2009 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12:

6:00 p.m. – Opening Reception featuring food from Attiki
7:30 p.m. – LEARNING FROM LIGHT: VISIONS OF I.M. PEI (famed architect spends a year studying Middle Eastern art & culture to design for the Islamic Museum of Art in Doha, Qatar)
9:30 p.m. – SLINGSHOT HIP HOP (Palestinian hip hop doc)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13:

5:30 p.m. – LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (doc on Palestinian prisoners in Israel and difficulties they face when released)
7:30 p.m. – THE OLIVE HARVEST (Palestinian love story, Palestine’s 2008 official Academy Award entry)
9:30 p.m. – TASTE OF THE REVOLUTION (doc on Palestine’s first beer brewery) AFGHAN MUSCLE (doc on Afghanistan’s post-
Taliban obsession with body building, its most popular sport)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14:

1:30 p.m. – SAUDI SOLUTIONS (profiles of five very powerful business women working in Saudi Arabia)
3:30 p.m. – VEILED VOICES and SHEIKA STORIES (profiles dynamic women living and working in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria)
5:30 p.m. – VOICES BEYOND WALLS – YOUTH VISIONS OF JERUSALEM (Youth media produced by kids in Palestine)
7:30 p.m. – A FEW KILOS OF DATES (a dark comedy about lonely men at a remote gas station looking for love in Iran)
9:30 p.m. – FILMS OF CHRISTOPHE KARABACHE: Program I (Lebanon) * (experimental documentaries on the aftermath of war)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15:

1:30 p.m. – MY FATHER AND MY SON (Turkish drama about a political prisoner’s return to his village with his 7 year old son)
3:30 p.m. – REMNANTS OF WAR (Lebanon activists deal with removing the remnants of deadly Israeli cluster bombs)
5:30 p.m. – NEW ORLEANS HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION (Palestine)* (reports from New Orleans artists & activists who went on a humanitarian mission to Gaza, accompanies the photo exhibit)
7:30 p.m. – GAZA DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL: Program I (Palestine) (STRANGER IN MY HOME: JERUSALEM & THE SHIP; profiles work of peace activists in the wake of Gaza 2009)
9:30 p.m. – FILMS OF CHRISTOPHE KARABASCHE: Program II (Lebanon)* (experimental documentaries about roving Bedouins and kurds by the visiting French filmmaker from Beirut)

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16:

5:30 p.m. – CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE: NAKBA DALIES (Palestine)* (recounts the events of 1947-48 in Palestine)
7:30 p.m. – GAZA DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL: Program II (Palestine) (ARTHUR BALFOUR AND ME; 25 KILOMETERES and THE EXODUS AND THE ODDYSSEY)
9:30 p.m. – FILMS OF TAGREED SAADEH & LIFESOURCE (Palestine)* (docs on the Siege of Gaza by the visiting Palestinian/Canadian filmmaker plus docs and a presentation on Israel’s violation of Palestine’s water rights by Lifesource)

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17:

5:30 p.m. – CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE: DAILY NAKBAS (Palestine)* (the experience of Palestinian refugees worldwide from 1967 to 2007 presented by visiting filmmaker Adam Shapiro)
7:30 p.m. – GAZA DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL: Program III (Palestine) (ONE OF; SABRA & SHATILA and FROM THE CAMP; if the bombs don’t kill them…)
9:30 p.m. – B.H. YAEL’S PALESTINE TRILOGY (Palestine)* (DEIR YASSIN REMEMBERED; EVEN IN THE DESERT and A HOT, SANDFILLED WORLD with visiting Canadian filmmaker)

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18:

5:30 p.m. – CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE: HOMELAND WITHOUT ID (PAPERS) (Palestine)* (governments treat Palestinians not from a rights perspective, but a “security” one)
7:30 p.m. – TATIL KITABI (SUMMER BOOK) (Turkish drama about the family affairs of three generations of men)
9:30 p.m. – EGYPT WE ARE WATCHING YOU (Egypt) (doc on Egypt’s recent election from the directors of the Control Room)

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19:

5:30 p.m. – CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE: IDENTITY WITHPUT A HOMELAND (Palestine) * (60 years of dispossession and refugee status around the world takes it’s toll)
7:30 p.m. – BUDDHA COLLAPSED OUT OF SHAME (Iranian drama about a young girl trying to go to school in Afghanistan)
9:30 p.m. – SHIRIN (Legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s latest film experiment about the effects a love story has on the ravishingly beautiful women who watch it)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20:

5:30 p.m. – CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE: TALK ABOUT A RETURN (Palestine) * (what work remains to be done?)
7:30 p.m. – MOMMO (THE BOGEYMAN) (A haunting drama about childhood from Anatolia/Turkey) – U.S. Premiere.
9:30 p.m. – THE SONG OF SPARROWS (an Iranian ostrich farmer turned taxi driver is corrupted by the big city)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21:

1:30 p.m. – SYRIA: CHESS MATCH AT THE BOARDERS
3:30 p.m. – CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE: RETURN OF THE TALK (Palestine) * (grassroots, activist and elite perspectives on the history and strategy of the Palestinian national movement)
5:30 p.m. – CAIRO STATION (50th Anniversary of Chahine’s Egyptian masterpiece of sexual repression and desire)
7:30 p.m. – GARBAGE DREAMS (profiles young men who make a living off recycling Cairo, Egypt’s garbage)
9:30 p.m. – CITY OF DREAMS (award-winning doc on Jerusalem’s only gay bar, a haven to both Palestinian & Israeli gays)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22:

3:30 p.m. – SALATA BALADI (EGYPTIAN SALAD) (An Egyptian feminist filmmaker makes multi-ethnic family fairytales to teach her nephew how women should be treated)
5:30 p.m. – RECYCLE (a portrait of the people of Zarqa, Jordan known as birthplace of Al qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi)
7:30 p.m. – AMREEKA (Palestine) (see description below)
9:30 p.m. – CLOSING PARTY/AWARD CEREMONY

November 24 through December 1 @ 7:30 p.m.
AMREEKA by Cherien Dabis. Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a Palestinian single mother who leaves the West Bank in Ramallah with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up burgers (and the occasional falafel) at the local White Castle. Winner of the International Critics Prize at Cannes.
________________

This year’s film festival will feature Acclaimed and Award-winning new films from or about Afghanistan, Anatolia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates shown over eleven nights with food, music, and visual art.

Sponsored by the GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, NEW ORLEANS PALESTINE SOLIDARITY, PATOIS: NEW ORLEANS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL, NEW ORLEANS HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION, TORONTO PALESTINE FILM FESTIVAL, VOICES BEYOND WALLS, NEW ORLEANS CHARITABLE FILM NETWORK, ARAB FILM DISTRIBUTION / TYPECAST FILMS, WOMEN MAKE MOVIES, CINEMA GUILD, FIRST RUN FEATURES, ICARUS FILMS, REGENT RELEASING, FACETS MULTI-MEDIA, CINEMA LIBRE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENTERTAINMENT, NEW ORLEANS CONSULATE DE FRANCE, BRITISH FILM INTITUTE, KRUZ BOUTIQUE, ATTIKI BAR & GRILL, GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINE STUDENTS (U.N.O.), ARTEEAST, WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS and ZEITGEIST INC. SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL OF THE DEDICATED FILMMAKERS, DISTRIBUTORS, PATRONS AND OUR VOLUNTEERS WHO MAKE THIS FESTIVAL POSSIBLE.

An Exhibition of photographs and videos from the NEW ORLEANS HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION’S recent humanitarian mission to Gaza will be on display throughout the festival. Seven New Orleans photographers, filmmakers, organizers and human rights workers traveled in solidarity as part of this historic delegation to Gaza. Members of the delegation have published accounts of their trip throughout the world. On view nightly through October 30, presented in conjunction with PHOTONOLA, a citywide photography expo. For detailed accounts go to http://nolaps.blogspot.com/

Also on Exhibit throughout the Festival:
RECENT PAINTINGS BY EMERGING EGYPTIAN ARTIST HAITHAM EID. Haitham Eid was born in Egypt in 1978. Eid was introduced to the art world in a very young age. His father is Abdelrazek Eid, a well-known Egyptian artist and businessman. He received his Masters Degree in Museum Studies from Southern University at New Orleans, USA in 2008 and his Bachelor’s in Archaeology from Cairo University, Egypt in 1999. Haitham is currently an Art Teacher at Andrew H. Wilson Charter School here in New Orleans. On view nightly through December 30th. http://www.HaithamEid.com

OFFICIAL OPENING NIGHT FILM:

Thursday, November 12 @ 7:30 p.m.
LEARNING FROM LIGHT: THE VISION OF I.M. PEI by Bo Landin and Sterling Van Wagenen.

Culture. Nature. Light: These elements provide the structure for a documentary film that explores the vision of one of the world’s master architects, I.M. Pei and his newest creation; the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. I.M. Pei has spent his storied career creating designs for some of the world’s most treasured structures, including Paris’s Pyramide du Louvre and The National Gallery in Washington D.C., already 88 years old when he accepted the commission, Chinese-American I.M. Pei embarked on another spectacular odyssey, it turned out to be on of his toughest yet; “Very frankly, I didn’t feel qualified…my acceptance of the commission was conditional based on my learning something about the history of Islam.” LEARNING FROM LIGHT chronicles Pei’s adventures as he traveled the Islamic world from Spain to Cairo on a journey of discovery to research the culture, history and landscape that would inform the project. Pei searched for inspiration in the ancient origins of desert architecture and translated his findings into one of the most complex building projects of his career. Pei spent a year immersing himself in the art, architecture and culture of the Middle East. This remarkable humility in the face of enormous creative challenges allows him to balance the often competing demands of form and function and realize a building that is stylistically his own, yet serves as a ‘stage’ for the human being. “It is the light of the desert that transforms the architecture into a play on light and shadow…if one could find the heart of Islamic architecture; might it not lie in the desert, severe and simple in its design, where sunlight brings forms to life?” By using Mr. Pei’s sketches, architectural renderings, models, and thorough interviews with Pei and his close collaborators, the film attempts to understand “…the where, the when, and the why that a work must address, convincingly and eloquently and with style..” To Pei this is the heart of architecture… As he says: “Islamic architecture has a desert origin, and therefore it has a certain modesty I don’t want to lose.” His design for the museum has been hailed universally as a major masterpiece of contemporary architecture. BO LANDIN is the founder of Slickrock Films in the US and Scandinature Films in Sweden. He has more than fifty international awards. STERLING VAN WAGENEN was the co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival and the first executive director of the Sundance Institute. He produced the Academy Award®-winning TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. (85 mins. Qatar)

Thursday, November 12 @ 9:30 p.m.
SLINGSHOT HIP HOP by Jackie Salloum.

Slingshot Hip Hop braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, this is the story of young people crossing the borders that separate them. Slingshot Hip Hop is narrated by Suhell, whose older brother Tamer is DAM’s front man. After examining the roots of that group, we meet several of the groups they inspired, including PR (Palestinian Rapperz), whose members live in the prison-like Gaza, unable to leave to meet their fellow hip-hoppers in person. It’s when the focus is on those injustices and hardships that the film is at its most powerful. There’s a particularly sad segment about kids living in a refugee camp that put on an illegal rap show and wind up in prison on trumped-up charges. Featuring Palestinian hip hop artists DAM, PR (Palestinian Rapperz), ABEER a.k.a. SABREENA DA WITCH, ARAPEYAT, MAHMOUD SHALABI from AKKA, etc. Winner Audience Awards – Beirut Film Festival, Doxbox Film Festival, Films De Femmes and Festival De Libertes. (83 mins. Palestine) Screens with OPEL CADET (3 mins. Palestine)

OFFICIAL CLOSING NIGHT FILM

Sunday, November 22 @ 7:30 p.m.
AMREEKA by Cherien Dabis.

Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a Palestinian single mother who leaves the West Bank in Ramallah with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up burgers (and the occasional falafel) at the local White Castle. Told with heartfelt humor by writer-director Cherien Dabis in her feature film debut, Amreeka is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home. Amreeka recalls Dabis’s family’s memories of their lives in rural America during the first Iraq War. The film stars Haifa-trained actress Nisreen Faour as Muna, and Melkar Muallen plays her 16-year-old son, Fadi. Also in the cast are Hiam Abbass (The Visitor, The Lemon Tree, The Syrian Bride), Alia Shawkat (Whip It), Yussef Abu-Warda and Joseph Ziegler. Shot in Ramallah and Winnipeg, this Palestinian/Canadian comedy won the International Critics Prize at Cannes; the Humanitas Prize and the Heartland “Truly Moving Picture” Award. Co-presented by Patois: New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival. (96 mins. Palestine) Screens with LIKE ALMOND BLOSSOMS (3 mins. Palestine)

Closing reception/Audience Awards Ceremony to follow AMREEKA.

Film series in the Festival:

Zeitgeist is very proud to announce that the NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL has officially partnered with the inaugural GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, the first film festival organized by Palestinians for Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip.

In solidarity with the people of Gaza, Zeitgeist will present three evenings of World or U.S. Premiere films from the Gaza festival here in New Orleans as they are screening in Palestine.

Also on Sunday, November 15 and Wednesday, November 18, Zeitgeist will participate (via video conference) with the opening ceremony and Closing night/Awards Ceremony of the Gaza Festival, which is being broadcast live internationally on Al-jazeera TV.

Audiences here in New Orleans will present an “AUDIENCE AWARD” via closed circuit live on Al-jazeera TV. Very exciting!

This historic co-presentation by the GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL and the NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL is co-presented by the NEW ORLEANS HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION and PATOIS: NEWORLEANS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL.

http://gazafestival.ps

http://nolamideastfilmfest.blogspot.com/

PALESTINIAN FILMS FROM THE GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL:

Sunday, November 15 @ 7:30 p.m.
GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL – PROGRAM 1
STRANGER IN MY HOME / JERUSALEM
by Sahera Dirbas. Stranger in My Home – Jerusalem is the most recent work by filmmaker Sahera Dirbas, who lives in Jerusalem but hails originally from Haifa. It was released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza in June 1967. The film relates the stories of eight Palestinian Jerusalemite families that have been turned refugees in their own city. They recall the events that occurred in the Moghrabi Quarter of Jerusalem during the 1967 war. Each family goes to see its house which was occupied in 1948. The houses are located in the Baqa’a, Talbiyeh, Qatamon and Mosrarah neighbourhoods of what is now West Jerusalem. Some of the families enter their former homes and have a discussion with the Israeli tenants currently occupying their homes. The film also includes an interview with the Israeli architect David Kroyanker who wrote books about these houses, one of which was turned into a museum. (50 mins.) THE SHIP by Ashraf Al Mashharawi. Peace activists decided to sail into Gaza in order to break down the unjust Israeli siege and deliver much needed humanitarian supplies. In August 2008 Paul Larudy and Greta Berlin along with their friends from California based Free Gaza Society started a campaign two year ago aimed at penetrating the illegal siege through legal means. The film documents the journey of the heroes who sailed across the sea in Freedom boats. (33 mins.) Screens with O CAMINHO (3 mins. Palestine)

Monday, November 16 @ 7:30 p.m.
GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL – PROGRAM 2
ARTHUR BALFOUR AND ME by Charlotte Cornic. What links Arthur J Balfour, the British Politician born in 1848 on a sumptuous family estate in East Lothian and Fatima, a young Palestinian woman, born in 1971 in a refugee camp in Lebanon and now seeking asylum in Glasgow? From the narrow alley ways of a refugee camp in Lebanon to the beautiful farming landscape of East Lothian in Scotland, ‘Arthur Balfour and Me’ is a visual and emotional journey through history and the present, a personal story about how one politician’s actions continue to affect the life of a young woman from the Middle East. (11 mins.) 25 KILOMETERS by Nahhed Awad. 25 Kilometers is a journey through the checkpoints and rocky roads of the West Bank. Starting in Ramallah, where the filmmaker lives and works, this short film documents her attempt to reach her family’s home in Beit Sahour (near Bethlehem). Inside the West Bank, Palestinians spend considerable time either being forced to avoid checkpoints or to wait in line. Over time these checkpoints have became a part of the daily routine of thousands. This routine in itself gives rise to some unexpected practices some people try to joke about the checkpoints, others feel powerless and even convince themselves that this is part of a “normal” life. Having had the privilege to leave Palestine from time to time, the filmmaker came to believe that one of the worst things that could happen to her is getting used to checkpoints, for this would signal giving up hope for a normal life and a future. (20 mins.) THE EXODUS AND THE ODYSSEY by Bilal Shammout. “The Exodus and the Odyssey” is a journey through the eyes of a uniquely artistic Palestinian couple, Ismail and Tamam Shammout, depicting the Exodus and uprooting of Palestinians from their beloved homeland. Both Ismail and Tamam dedicated their lives to the Palestinian cause, and were also the founders of the Palestinian Artistic Movement. The documentary uses the couple’s brushes and colours to vividly portray their experiences on 19 murals, to tell the world what they and their people have had to endure over the past 60 years. Recorded in their own voices, the film takes viewers on Ismail and Tamam’s personal voyage and immerses the audience in the spectacular sights and sounds of these world famous works of art. (45 mins.) Screens with AL ALMANIE (THE GERMAN) (3 mins. Palestine)

Tuesday, November 17 @ 7:30 p.m.
GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL – PROGRAM 3
ONE OF by Emad Badwan. One Of reveals the shooting of an emergency medical worker on January 7th, during the period which Israel declared a ‘cease-fire’ period. The medics were subject to no less than 15 shots while they attempted to evacuate the body of a man already sniped by Israeli soldiers. One Of poses the question: how would you feel if your loved one died because ambulances were prevented from reaching the wounded. (4 mins.) SABRA AND SHATILA by Hesham Jordey. The recent subject of the animated Israeli film WALTZ WITH BASHIR, the 1982 Sabra and Shatila Massacre of Palestinian civilians by Christian militiamen in two Beirut refugee camps during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The goal of Israel’s action was to expel Palestinian guerrillas from Lebanon. To achieve this objective, Israel allied itself with several Lebanese Christian groups, including the Phalange party, who fought the Palestinians during the protracted Lebanese Civil War (1975 – 90). Following the U.S.-brokered evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) fighters from Beirut, Israeli forces under Defense Minister Ariel Sharon allowed Phalange militiamen into the camps, ostensibly to root out further PLO fighters. Estimates of the number of women, children, and elderly who were killed over the next several days ranged from 800 to several thousand. Although no militiamen were ever prosecuted, Sharon — who an Israeli commission of inquiry later found indirectly responsible through negligence — was condemned in Arab popular opinion as the culprit of the massacre. (51 mins.) FROM THE CAMP by Ahmed Al Mashharawi. If the bombs don’t kill them, the sea just might. The documentary film talks about Palestinian refugees in Gaza Strip living along the sea. The refugees survived the siege, but this time the power of nature is their enemy. Abu Ahmed had a part of his home destroyed by the sea Float and his poor family can hardly scrape by. They represent the miserable life of the refugees in their battered camp and the doubled suffering that the poor may have when they face the force of nature. It is a story of a sea and refugees. (15 mins.) Screens with TO BIDDO (3 mins. Palestine)

ROAD MOVIE. A Special Presentation of Eight Segments of Road Movie, a work-in-progress 12 Screen Multi-Media Installation specifically designed by Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky for the 2009 TORONTO PALESTINE FILM FESTIVAL. These eight 3 minute shorts, which screen in conjunction to our monthly CANADA IS BIGGER series, will be screened nightly before scheduled features throughout the festival.

Road movies have their roots in spoken and written tales of epic journeys, such as the Odyssey and the Aeneid. Like their antecedents, the films presented here tend towards an episodic structure in which each one reveals a piece of the plot—the master plan for Palestine—a road system partitioning the West Bank into three distinct enclaves with controlled passage between them. Road Movie is a preview of eight segments of a twelve-screen installation shown before eight programs throughout the Festival as short films, small journeys on what have become known as the Apartheid Roads of contemporary Palestine. “Continuing our work on landscape and its relationship to shifting political geographies, each film follows a journey on either Palestinian or ‘Jewish only’ roads all shot in stop-motion animation in single takes. Journeys that took several hours have been reduced to only minutes creating a density endemic to the political atmosphere. The films take on a timeless feel as people and places appear and disappear capturing ghostlike figures in the frames. The intense methodology mimics the systemic implementation of Occupation grafted onto the landscape and like surveyors we move along the roads frame by frame.”

Thursday, November 12 @ 9:30 p.m.
Opel Cadet. Raja Shehadeh, lawyer for Palestinian rights and eloquent writer with a keen eye for master plans, became aware of Israel’s road plan for the ‘Occupied Territories’ and its consequences long before the manifestation of today’s “Apartheid Roads”. For over thirty years he witnessed Israeli road building eating the Palestinian landscape and battled in court as they expropriated more and more land to do so. Originally from Jaffa, the road that took Raja and his family to and from the sea is a memory: It is designated for Jewish travelers only. Screens prior to SLINGSHOT HIP HOP.

Friday, November 13 @ 7:30 p.m.
Slow Emergency. Yehia is an ambulance driver working in the town of Silwad, about 15 minutes from Ramallah. As a result of the Apartheid roads however, Yehia’s drive to the Ramallah hospital now takes forty minutes on winding, sometimes-treacherous roads. Slow Emergency takes us down those roads in his ambulance as we transport a dialysis patient. Screens prior to THE OLIVE HARVEST.

Friday, November 13 @ 9:30 p.m.
The New-Old Road to Jericho. The oldest inhabited city on earth, decry many of the tour books yet most of the tourists are gone. Jericho, once a bustling Palestinian town of winter homes for Ramallans has been isolated from the rest of the West Bank. After a day in Jericho’s fruit markets with Huda, a no-nonsense 70-year old, we journey back on the new old road through Christian Taybeh back to Ramallah. Screens before TASTE OF THE REVOLUTION & AFGHAN MUSCLE.

Sunday, November 15 @ 7:30 p.m.
O Caminho. Mato Grosso, Brazil is a long way from Ramallah, Palestine—Ayman has lived in both. He recently returned to Ramallah. But often he wonders if he made the right decision as negotiations stall, the Palestinian leadership disappoints and his taxi usually only covers a few square miles. On this day he takes us to Bethlehem and back—once a 20-minute drive passing through Jerusalem. But Palestinians are now barred from Jerusalem and miles around. With the detours, the journey is now an hour and a half. Screens with GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL – Program I.

Monday, November 16 @ 7:30 p.m.
Al Almanie (the German). They say Arabic is difficult to master, but for Kleemans, a German geologist, every idiom is as familiar as the rocks he studies and the water-wells that have become his obsession. He is the consummate expert. On a ride from Ramallah to Qalkilya, Kleemans expounds on the disastrous situation of water resources in Palestine. Rapidly dwindling due to the expansion of settlements, Palestinians must now buy back what is left of their own water from Israel. At our last checkpoint we are denied entry to Qalkilya. Screens with GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL – Program II.

Tuesday, November 17 @ 7:30 p.m.
To Biddo. A pleasure trip with a young Arabic teacher in the Palestinian countryside ends in despair as the cemented structures of Occupation etch themselves into her mind in ways that until now were less apparent. Screens with GAZA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL – Program III.

Saturday, November 21 @ 9:30 p.m.
Ezra. Hebron can seem like a million light-years away from Ramallah, especially with all the detours Palestinians must now take. Ezra, a gay Jewish Israeli who hails from Iraq, refuses to stand idly by as the Occupation wreaks havoc on every aspect of the land and its people. A modern hero who has been compared to Martin Luther King, Ezra risks jail and more as he lives in Israel the only way he can: fighting for Palestine. Screens prior to CITY OF BORDERS.

Sunday, November 22 @ 7:30 p.m.
Like Almond Blossoms. In the 70’s Sonia was a hippy teenager leaving Jenin for the big city of Ramallah on her way to university. At 19 she is jailed for three years for belonging to a student movement. We journey back to Jenin to visit Sonia’s mother along the road she knows so well. But much has changed and the roads at once familiar also confuse her. Screens Prior to AMREEKA.

http://www.tpff.ca

Visiting filmmaker CHRISTOPHE KARABACHE (French experimental documentary filmmaker from Beirut).

Last year we screened Christophe’s experimental documentary Zone Frontaliere (Border Zone) on our opening night. Christophe was scheduled to be here, but could not get a Visa to enter the U.S. This year he will be here for the duration of the festival and to present two programs of his exceptional works. Sponsored by the New Orleans Consulate de France.

Saturday, November 14 @ 9:30 p.m.
CHRISTOPHE KARABACHE PROGRAM 1:
ZONE FRONTALIERE (BORDER ZONE) Lebanon, in the aftermath of the war of July-August 2006. A journey between Beirut and the South shows bodies going through suffocation, political crisis and uncertain chaos. Border Lines of a war…suspended. A waking up in the ruins. Sleepwalker in blood. Check point / territory / Shelter / bombs. Beirut…fragments of frontage. Division, scission, skeletons of cement, corpses cut down. A Human cry from the debris. A beautiful and poetic film mixing documentary, essay and animation. (45 mins., Lebanon) MONDANITES – BOMB ATTACK. Shot on Super 8 and digital. Fragments of a shattered life…Fragments from Beirut, a city lost… (30 mins. Lebanon)

Sunday, November 14 @ 9:30 p.m.
CHRISTOPHE KARABACHE PROGRAM 2:
WADI KHALED. Shot on Super 8. A meeting with the Bedouin men and inhabitants from the northern frontier (“Wadi Khaled”) between Lebanon and Syria. A people deprived from identity, an area without faces, without words…(15 mins., Lebanon/Syria) TRANS SOCIETY. Ali, a roving Kurd, experiences the confusion and chaos of three cities: Paris, Beirut and New York. The film gradually uncovers another truth dear to the filmmaker: nostalgia of a childhood, the unveiling of a memory revisiting its most ardent desires…(62 mins. Lebanon).

CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE
by PERLA ISSA, ASEEL MANSOUR and visiting filmmaker ADAM SHAPIRO.

CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE is a 6-part documentary film series looking at the global Palestinian refugee experience over the last 60 years. Starting with ‘al-Nakba’ (catastrophe) in 1948 and continuing through repeated community and individual expulsions and enduring discrimination by virtue of being Palestinian, the first three episodes are more historical and informative, presenting an almost comprehensive review of 60 years of dispossession. The last three parts tackle many issues facing Palestinian refugees, and are meant to open up debate on taboo and contentious issues. Filmed in over 15 countries, with more than 250 interviews of Palestinian refugees who have lived in over 25 countries, this is the first documentary film to look at the global Palestinian refugee experience over the last 60 years. The film presents Palestinian refugees who were displaced in 1948 and their descendants, and includes the wide range of age, socio-economic status, education level, etc. Chronicles of a Refugee is an independently produced film made by Adam Shapiro, Perla Issa and Aseel Mansour, with a musical score by Ramallah Underground and Tarik “Excentrik” Kazaleh.

Monday, November 16 @ 5:30 p.m.
Part I: “Nakba Dailies” recounts the events of 1947-48 in Palestine as experienced by those who lived them. From Palestinians who were adults with children to those who were young children at the time; from rural peasants to urban elites; and from the politically engaged to the average citizen, this film explores how the Nakba was experienced throughout Palestine and how the Palestinian refugee issue was created. (79 mins.)

Tuesday, November 17 @ 5:30 p.m.
Part II: “Daily Nakbas” picks up the experience of Palestinian refugees worldwide in 1967 and is an exploration of the repeated expulsions of Palestinians from various countries and refugee camps around the world from 1967 to 2007. This film explores the impact of such expulsions on those who live through them, and what it means for a community to be under constant threat of being made refugees a second, third or fourth time. (89 mins.)

Wednesday, November 18 @ 5:30 p.m.
Part III: “Homeland Without ID (papers)” looks at the other major defining experience of Palestinian refugees worldwide over 60 years – official discrimination through legal and bureaucratic means. Looking at both the Arab and Western experiences, this film details how host governments treat Palestinians not from a rights perspective, but primarily from a “security” perspective. (79 mins.)

Thursday, November 19 @ 5:30 p.m.
Part IV: “Identity Without a Homeland” starts to unpack the meaning and attributes of Palestinian identity today, given the experience of 60 years of dispossession and refugee status around the world. Taboo subjects, such as the role of refugee camps, the usefulness of citizenship, etc. are debated by those who live with the consequences of decisions taken about these matters. (78 mins.)

Friday, November 20 @ 5:30 p.m.
Part V: “Talk About Return” highlights the situation of Palestinian refugees 60 years after their expulsion and dispossession of their country and land. Through interviews and archival footage, the film explores the work that has been done in the past to enable refugees to return, while also looking at how refugees today are responding to the lack of institutional progress on the issue. Given the 60th anniversary of the catastrophe that led to the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem, this film serves as an important perspective on what work remains to be done. (78 mins.)

Saturday, November 21 @ 3:30 p.m.
Part VI: “Return of the Talk” explores the relationship of leadership and representation among Palestinians, notably Palestinian refugees worldwide. Giving both historical context and debate over future strategy the film is a comprehensive look at the meaning of political leadership for a people facing exile, occupation and ongoing dispossession. Given the importance of the 60th anniversary of the dispossession of Palestine in 1948, this film is a timely documentation, combing grassroots, activist and elite perspectives on the history and strategy of the Palestinian national movement. (84 mins.)

ADAM SHAPIRO is co-founder of the INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT, and has previously made the documentaries ABOUT BAGHDAD, DARFUR DIARIES, BECOMING NADYA and NOWHERE TO FLEE.

 He will be here along with his wife, activist HUWAIDA ARRAF from the organization FREE GAZA, to discuss the films and the issues they provoke with audiences after each program in the series.

Individual Film Programs:

Friday, November 13 @ 5:30 p.m.
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL by Sobhi al-Zobaidi. According to many sources, over half a million Palestinians have been arrested and imprisoned by Israel since 1967. This film reflects on some of the problems that Palestinian detainees face after their release from Israeli (and Palestinian Authority) prisons. Six ex-detainees, two women and four men, talk about their life after being released. Some were unable to bridge the gap between them and their families, some feel that they came out from one prison only to enter another. (52 mins. Palestine) Screens with OPEL CADET (3 mins. Palestine)

Friday, November 13 @ 7:30 p.m.
THE OLIVE HARVEST by Hanna Elias. The Olive Harvest tells a complex, heartbreaking love story against the backdrop of intoxicating Palestinian landscapes. Upon his release from an Israeli prison, Mazen develops romantic feelings for his childhood friend, Raeda. Unfortunately, Raeda is already engaged to Taher, Mazen’s younger brother. As it is tradition for the eldest brother to marry first, their love is kept a secret. Palestine’s Official 2008 entry to the Academy Awards. (90 mins Palestine) Screens with SLOW EMERGENCY (3 mins. Palestine)

Friday, November 13 @ 9:30 p.m.
TASTE THE REVOLUTION by Buthina Canaan Khoury. The uplifting and inspiring story behind Taste the Revolution is drawn from the filmmaker’s own family history. After living in the USA for 30 years, her brothers Nadim and Dahoud returned to their homeland to fulfill their father’s dream of establishing a business in Palestine. After investing their education, experience and family money, they opened the Taybeh Brewing Company—the first micro brewery in the entire Middle East. In spite of numerous hardships and obstacles caused by the unpredictable and tumultuous life in Palestine, Dahoud and Nadim Khoury’s business continued to thrive, serving as an inspiration to numerous other Palestinian entrepreneurs. The brothers now sell Taybeh beer throughout Palestine and the Middle East and even to some bars and cafés in Israel. The brewing company’s success has attracted international media attention which has in turn brought tourists to Taybeh, Palestine from around the world—people interested in tasting the revolution served up by the Khoury Brothers’ Taybeh Brewing Company. (27 mins. Palestine) AFGHAN MUSCLES by Andreas Dalsgaard. In post-Taliban Kabul, the most popular sport is bodybuilding. Afghan Muscles takes us inside Afghanistan’s thriving bodybuilding culture – a sport that attracts thousands of young men across a country devastated by war and poverty who dream of attaining a better life through muscles. It’s a side of Afghanistan and Middle Eastern society that few have ever seen. Once barely tolerated by the Taliban (competitors had to remain fully clothed at all times), bodybuilding gyms and clubs are sprouting up throughout the country. Today, competitions take place in the open – in overcrowded halls where buff contestants strut their stuff in Speedos and spray-on tans before enthusiastic audiences of robed, bearded men who fervently cheer for their favorites. For these men, bodybuilding is a way to better their lives. A championship can bring instant fame, social recognition and honor to one’s family. More importantly, it can earn you the support of a wealthy warlord who will open a gym on your behalf. Hamid Shirzai is one such young man. Coming from a long line of bodybuilders – both his brother and uncle were national champions – Hamid is intent on becoming the next Mr. Afghanistan, and ultimately, Mr. Asia. Afghan Muscles follows Hamid and his teammates as they prepare for the Asian Championships in Dubai. Along the way, the film reveals their inner strength and determination, as well as the surreal nature of their sport: protein powder, a basic necessity, must be smuggled in like drugs; a sponsorship, necessary to compete, often takes the form of a dozen eggs a day; and everyone knows and talks about and admires “Arnold” – Schwarzenegger, that is. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the AFI Film Festival, this discerning documentary from filmmaker and anthropologist Andreas Dalsgaard offers an indelible view of a changing Afghanistan, and in the process, shatters every pre-conceived notion you ever had about this country. (59 mins. Afghanistan) Screens with THE NEW-OLD ROAD TO JERICHO (3 mins. Palestine)

Saturday, November 14 @ 1:30 p.m.
SAUDI SOLUTIONS by Bregtje van der Haak. In Saudi Arabia, one of the most religiously conservative societies in the Middle East, women are not allowed to vote or to drive a car. Men and women are segregated in most public spaces and work environments. A strict dress code enforced by religious police mandates that women cover their heads and bodies in public, where they must always be accompanied by a husband or other male guardian. In SAUDI SOLUTIONS, filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak, the first Western filmmaker ever granted permission to film the lives of Saudi women, takes us inside this closed society where fewer than five percent of women work. She profiles several women with professional careers—including a journalist, a doctor, a photographer, a television newsreader, a university professor, and the nation’s first female airplane pilot-and asks them to explain what it means to be a modern woman in a fundamentalist Islamic society. In an interview with Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, owner of Kingdom Holding Company and fifth richest man in the world, SAUDI SOLUTIONS finds an isolated enclave of progressive attitudes toward women. In his office building and private palace, half of the employees are women, who are unveiled and dressed in the latest fashions, although “the ladies” work, he emphasizes, in an “Islamically correct” environment. (77 mins. Saudi Arabia)

Saturday, November 14 @ 3:30 p.m.
VEILED VOICES by Bridid Maher.

Women across the Arab world are redefining their role as leaders in Islam. Veiled Voices investigates the world of Muslim women religious leaders through the eyes of three women in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Filmed over the course of two years, Veiled Voices reveals a world rarely documented, exploring both the public and private worlds of these women. The stories featured in the film give insight into how Muslim women are now increasingly willing to challenge the status quo from within their religion, promoting Islam as a powerful force for positive transformation in the world. Each triumphs over difficult challenges as they carve out a space to lead—both in Islam and in their communities. Screens with a collection of five short documentary films also by Brigid Maher, SHEIKHA STORIES profiles several women of the Middle East and the institutions that support their role in Islam. The women and institutions featured in the films differ in their approaches, ideas and interpretations of the religion—at times making the road towards leadership a dynamic journey. THE MODERN SHEIKHA,
by sitting in on discussions between teacher Ghina Hammoud and her students, The Modern Sheikha examines the impact of women religious leaders in their communities throughout the Arab world. Authors Dr. Saba Mahmood (“Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject”—2005) and Dr. R. Stephen Humphries (“Islamic History”—1991) make appearances to help provide context for the conversation. MAGDA’S CALLING, the short documentary Magda’s Calling examines the fascinating life of Magda Amer. A “daiya”—or caller—for Islam, Magda has been certified by Al-Azhar to teach the religion in the mosques of Cairo. She is also a doctor who practices alternative medicine and owns a homeopathic shop in the city’s suburbs where she teaches about “prophetic medicine”—the medicine and nutrition practiced by Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). Magda is also the author of several books, including “Rights and Tolerance In Islam” and “The Secrets of Absolution.” SOCRATIC SHEIKHA, Hanan al-Lahham is a teacher of religion in Damascus, Syria. Although she never received a formal education in Islam when she was young, Hanan has endeavored in her studies and now provides courses throughout the Arab world, as well as writing “tafsir”—commentary and interpretations—on Al-Qur’an. Her socratic teaching method, reflected in her approach to writing, encourages open discussion during her religious lessons. MOSQUE OF LIGHT,
 as part of the Sheikh Ahmed Kuftaro Foundation—run by the founder’s son, Sheikh Salah al-Deen Kuftaro—the Abu Nour School has encouraged the enrollment of female students since its inception more than 60 years ago. The gender-separated school also houses over 50 women teachers, a number of whom have achieved their doctorates and now lecture to both women and men. LADIES OF BRILLIANCE,
 more than 40 years ago, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt opened its doors to women, with a gender-segregated and separated campus. In Brigid Maher’s insightful short documentary Ladies of Brilliance, students of Al-Azhar discuss their studies and the role of women who hold leadership positions in Islam. (96 mins. Lebanon, Syria, Eqypt)

Saturday, November 14 @ 5:30 p.m.
YOUTH VISIONS OF JERUSALEM. We are proud to partner with VOICES BEYOND WALLS, a Palestinian youth media program for this year’s festival. We will present a selection of video shorts produced by youth in digital storytelling workshops conducted from 2006-2008 by Voices Beyond Walls, in collaboration with youth centers in Palestinian refugee camps. Nearly 60 video shorts were produced by youth (aged 10-16 years) from 7-8 refugee camps in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Jordan over the past 3 years. We will present their brand new shorts program, YOUTH VISIONS OF JERUSALEM, which was put together for the First Palestine Youth Media Festival in Ramallah. The program features Introducing Youth Visions of Jerusalem (10:31 min); Whispers in Jerusalem. Firas is the new kid at school walking through the winding streets of the Old City with his new friend Remeen. He soon runs into trouble with some local bullies at school. As rumors travel fast through whispers in the city, Firas quickly learns how ties can be broken and friendships are hard to keep. (4:58 min); Lamees’ Daydream. Full of daydreams and adventures, Lamees gets sent out on a simple errand by her mother. Walking through the Old City, she instead looks for her favorite storybook. Soon Lamees finds herself inside her fable, faced with the leopard in the story. Will her daydreams lead her to trouble? (4:25 min); Palestinian Costumes in Jerusalem. Three girls from Shu’fat refugee camp discuss the traditional costumes and clothes in Jerusalem through visits and interviews with Palestinians in the Old City. Through the film the girls reflect on their personal experience about historical places and original Palestinian costumes in Jerusalem. (9:43 min); Life is like Shishbesh. Mohammad wastes his days in the streets of the Old City, smoking and playing games (like Shishbesh) with his friends. One day he meets Sereen on her way to school, professing his love to her but gets in trouble with her father. Upon encountering boys harassing his own sister on the street, he confronts them and questions his own behavior. Will Mohammad have the will to change? (6:47 min); After the Return: Year 2161. A group of youth from Shu’fat refugee camp imagine their camp in the year 2161, when the Israeli Occupation and military check-points have ended and become a part of the past. Through the film, the youth reflect on their dreams of the future as well as their current life under the Occupation in the year 2009. (10:24 min); and Take It or Leave It: The Cursed Necklace. The story starts when a child loses a necklace while walking in the Old City. As another child decides to steal the necklace, the story revolves around how the thief is punished for the cursed necklace, in ways that lead to remorse and strange dreams. (8:36 min). http://www.voicesbeyondwalls.org

Saturday, November 14 @ 7:30 p.m.
A FEW KILOS OF DATES FOR A FUNERAL by Saman Salur. From one of Iran s most talented young filmmakers comes this sensitive drama about two lost souls who run a lowly gas station in a deserted area of Iran. Sadry and his new assistant struggle to eke out a living with their gas station. With few customers and little in common, they spend most of their time alone except for occasional visits by the local postman. Despite their apparent loneliness, each of the three men dream of romance and are driven to pursue impossible relationships. With its visually stunning black and white cinematography and off-kilter compositions, A FEW KILOS OF DATES FOR A FUNERAL is stylishly directed by award-winning newcomer Saman Salur. His clever mix of drama with black humor paints a fresh face on the cinema of Iran. (85 mins. Iran)

Sunday, November 15 @ 1:30 p.m.
MY FATHER AND MY SON by Cagan Irmak. Sadik is one of the rebellious youth who has been politically active as a university student and became a left-wing journalist in the 70′s, despite his father’s expectations of him becoming an agricultural engineer and taking control of their family farm in an Aegean village. On the dawn of September 12, 1980, when a merciless military coup hits the country, they cannot find access to any hospital or a doctor and his wife dies while giving birth to their only child, Deniz. After a long-lasting period of torture, trials, and jail time, Sadik returns to his village with 7-8 years old Deniz, knowing that it will be hard to correct things with his father, Huseyin. (108 mins. Turkey)

Sunday, November 15 @ 3:30 p.m.
REMNANTS OF WAR by Jawad Metni.

An accomplished new documentary feature from director Jawad Metni, Remnants of a War is a portrait of the brave workers of South Lebanon who endeavor to rebuild and reclaim their land for their fellow countrymen following the devastating 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel. During the 33 days of fighting, Israel dropped more than one million cluster bomb munitions onto the fields, orchards and towns of South Lebanon—with the majority of the bombs being deployed in the final 3 days of the war. An estimated 35% of these cluster bombs failed to detonate upon impact, leaving the mine-like devices scattered over the countryside until unwitting civilians stumble upon them and are maimed or killed by the resulting explosion. In 2007, teams of locally recruited and trained de-miners race to locate and deactivate the bombs before even more civilians are injured or killed. Remnants of a War takes an intimate look into the lives of these brave workers—Muslims and Christians; Sunnis and Shia; women and men—who work shoulder to shoulder in the sweltering heat to make their lands available for ranching, farming and for children to safely play upon once again. (76 mins. Lebanon)

Sunday, November 15 @ 5:30 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION presents a program of videos, essays and documents which accompany their exhibition of photographs by delegation members Abdul Aziz, Taslim Van Hattum, Emily Ratner (on display nightly through December 30). Seven New Orleans photographers, filmmakers, organizers and human rights workers recently traveled in solidarity as part of an historic delegation to Gaza. Since returning the members of the delegation have reported their “witnessings” on websites and publications throughout through out the world. They will present their collective and individual first hand accounts and documentation of the realities in Gaza including the videos PRISONERS OF GAZA and GAZA UNDER SIEGE by delegation members Jordan Flaherty & Lily Keber. (Palestine)

Monday, November 16 @ 9:30 p.m.
GAZA: CAST LEAD and NO WATER.
Visiting filmmaker TAGREED SAADEH

(Palestinian/Canadian documentary filmmaker from Toronto) presents a special premiere work-in-progress screening of her new documentary CAST LEAD. This documentary takes us back to the Israeli War on Gaza in 2009, code named; Operation Cast Lead. It illustrates, very clearly, the devastation of children and their schools being attacked in this war. It profiles the Baloushi family’s five daughters who were killed while they were sleeping, the Hamdan’s three kids who were attacked with two F16 rockets while taking out the garbage at their home and the attack of an American school in Gaza. Both of the families of Baloushi and Hamdan speak about memories of their children and the dreams they had before this planned war effort and how difficult it is to continue in their lives without their children. Despite their tragedy they believe that there is still hope for solutions other than the killing of innocent people. (33 mins.) and ROUGH CUT brings us onto the streets and into the makeshift homes of Gaza to experience human tragedy of the aftermath of Israeli’s military bombardment and continued siege of Gaza. (10 mins.) Screens with three short documentaries on Gaza by the non-profit group LIFESOURCE, a Palestinian-led collective of people who recognize it is crucial to address the current and unfolding regional water crisis immediately – on the humanitarian level, the environmental level, and the political level. GAZA IS FLOATING by Fady Al-Ghorra The Israeli siege on Gaza has trapped all sanitation projects in temporary emergency phases. This film documents the resulting disaster, the environmental catastrophe and human tragedy. (15 mins.) BY LAND OR BY WATER: GAZA UNDER SIEGE by Mohammed El-Majdalawi. The War, reconstruction, the two-year anniversary of the siege. Testimonies are woven together to present the water situation on the ground in Gaza. Testimonies of water infrastructure targeted during the War in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention are particularly relevant today in light of the recent release of the Goldstone Report, which has found that Israel is guilty of war crimes. (9 mins.) WE, THE WOMEN OF JAYYOUS by LifeSource. The story of an individual Palestinian village’s resistance to the confiscation of six wells by Israel’s illegal construction of the Wall through their land and to Israeli industrial waste near the well that they now use. A group of women from Jayyous set out to find the cause of water pollution in their water network and learn that the Israeli Occupation of their land and water resources is playing out on many different levels. (34 mins.). Following the films there will be a discussion with filmmaker Tagreed Saadeh and a presentation on the “Drying Up Of Palestine” by SUSAN D’ALOIA a volunteer from Lifesource.

Tuesday, November 17 @ 9:30 p.m.
PALESTINE TRILOGY by visiting Canadian filmmaker B.H. Yael. With profound depth and grace these three, thematically related videos tell the tragic story of Palestine and dispel many myths. DEIR YASSIN REMEMBERED deals with the past by focusing on a well-documented massacre of the Nakba (Catastrophe, the Palestinian term for the takeover of their land in 1948) – the destruction of the thriving community of Deir Yassin. EVEN IN THE DESERT explores the contemporary ramifications of the Israeli occupation – the displacements, checkpoints, surveillance, walls. And the final segment A HOT, SANDFILLED WORLD is a visual/auditory poem signifying, perhaps, hope for the future. What makes the whole experience particularly moving is that the reasonable, non-confrontational voices throughout are those of peace and social justice activists from every side – Israeli, Palestinian, and international. B.H. Yael is a Toronto based filmmaker and installation artist. Her environmental documentary TRADING THE FUTURE recently premiered at the Mumbai International Film Festival and won the Best Humanitarian Observation Award at the Rivers Edge Int. Film Festival. She is also Professor of Integrated Media at the Ontario College of Art and Design. (75 mins. Palestine)

Wednesday, November 18 @ 7:30 p.m.
TATIL KITABI (SUMMER BOOK) by Seyfi Teoman. Mustafa is a hard-working and ambitious agricultural merchant who is cold and austere towards his family. One day he has a brain hemorrhage on a business trip and goes into a coma after the operation. Guler is suspicious of her husband having an affair. Veysel, their teenage son, wants to leave the military academy and study business administration. Ali, their 10-year-old son, has to cope both with his bully classmate and the chewing gums he has to sell. Hasan, Mustafa’s younger brother, chose to live a life in solitude after getting a divorce, and has always been an outsider to the family. But now, with his brother in coma, he finds himself involved in family affairs. Hasan has to solve the mystery about Mustafa’s mistress and the money lost during his trip. Winner Best Turkish Film and the International Critics Prize at the Istanbul Film Festival and Best First Feature at the Montreal World Film Festival. (92 mins. Turkey)

Wednesday, November 18 @ 9:30 p.m.
EGYPT WE ARE WATCHING YOU by Jehane Noujaim,

the acclaimed filmmaker of The Control Room, and Sherief Elkatsha, Egypt: We are Watching You shines a harsh spotlight on Egypt’s new democracy. In his 2005 State of the Union address, President Bush cited Egypt as the country that would pave the way for democracy in the Middle East. That same year, President Mubarak, who’s National Democratic Party has been the dominant political force for 24 years, announced that Egypt would hold multi-party presidential elections. Unable to sit idly by while their country is on the brink of change, three women activists start a grassroots campaign to empower the public and hold their government accountable. Called Shayfeen.com – ‘we are watching you’ – they film the election process, capturing widespread violence and voter fraud, and broadcast the footage on their website. Their courageous efforts, which includes publishing a list of corrupt judges on their website, leads to an invitation to speak at the U.N. (where they receive a wink and some reassuring words from President Bush). Insisting that only the people can make change happen, their goal is to educate the Egyptian public on what it takes to build the most basic pillars of democracy: basic human rights, freedom of speech and the establishment of an independent judiciary. Egypt: We are Watching You illustrates the importance of ordinary citizens participating in shaping and securing their democracy. (52 mins. Egypt)

Thursday, November 19 @ 7:30 p.m.
BUDDHA COLLAPSED OUT OF SHAME by Hana Makhmalbaf.

Amidst the wreckage beneath the ruined statue of the Buddha, thousands of families struggle to survive. Baktay, a six-year-old Afghan girl is challenged to go to school by her neighbor’s son who reads in front of their cave. Having found the money to buy a precious notebook, and taking her mother’s lipstick for a pencil, Baktay sets out. On her way, boys playing games that mimic the terrible violence they have witnessed that has always surrounded them, harass her. The boys want to stone the little girl, to blow her up as the Taliban blew up the Buddha, to shoot her like Americans. Will Baktay be able to escape these violent war games and reach the school? Or will the Buddha collapse again out of shame? (84 mins. Iran/Afghanistan)

Thursday, November 19 @ 9:30 p.m.
SHIRIN by Abbas Kiarostami. Abbas Kiarostami is considered the father of Iranian Cinema and is widely considered to be one of the greatest living filmmakers in the world. Over the past few years, Kiarostami’s work has taken on an increasingly poetic and experimental nature as he opts to give his traditional, humanist screenplays to young emerging directors to direct. In Shirin, a hundred and fourteen famous Iranian theater and cinema actresses and one French actress, Juliette Binoche (proving she really is in everything): mute spectators at a theatrical representation of Khosrow and Shirin, a Persian poem from the twelfth century, put on stage by Kiarostami. The development of the text, long a favorite in Persia and the Middle East, remains invisible to the viewer of the film. The whole story is told by the faces of the women watching the show. The film consists of beautiful, languishing close-ups of ravishingly beautiful women experiencing the full range of emotions inherent in the text of the legendary Persian fable. (92 mins. Iran)

Friday, November 20 @ 7:30 p.m.
MOMMO: THE BOGEY MAN by Atalay Tasdiken.

Even when things get tough, Ahmet and Ayse are always there for each other. After the death of their mother, Ahmet takes on the job of looking after his little sister. He is her protector, entertainer and idol – but that’s a lot of responsibility when you’re only ten years old. Based on a true story, Mommo is an affecting tale about the bond between siblings and their struggle to hold on to each other, even in the face of forces that threaten to tear them apart. Shot against the striking surrounds of an isolated Anatolian community, the film also offers an engaging look at rural Turkish life. U.S. Premiere. (94 mins., Turkey)

Friday, November 20 @ 9:30 p.m.
THE SONG OF SPARROWS by Majid Majidi. Karim works at an ostrich farm outside of Tehran, Iran. He leads a simple and contented life with his family in his small house, until one day when one of the ostriches runs away. Karim is blamed for the loss and is fired from the farm. Soon after, he travels to the city in order to repair his elder daughter’s hearing aid but finds himself mistaken for a motorcycle taxi driver. Thus begins his new profession: ferrying people and goods through heavy traffic. But the people and material goods that he deals with daily start to transform Karim’s generous and honest nature, much to the distress of his wife and daughters. It is up to those closest to him to restore the values that he had once cherished. Grammy-nominated composer and musician Hossein Alizadeh, a master tar and setar player, provides the haunting score. Majid Majidi is the award-winning director of Boycott, Children of Heaven, The Color Of Paradise and Baran. (96 mins. Iran)

Saturday, November 21 @ 1:30 p.m.
SYRIA: CHESS MATCH AT THE BORDERS by Amal Hamelin des Essarts.

Syria, branded by the U.S. Government as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” is a single-party dictatorship ruled since 1970 by Hafez al-Assad and, following his death in 2000, by his son Bashar. But this nation bordered by Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan, despite the lack of any significant oil reserves, is both a strategic and a besieged country. Syria is simultaneously a player and a pawn in the geopolitical “chess match” that characterizes the Middle East today. This documentary chronicles the historical background to this situation, focusing on the three Arab-Israeli wars-in 1948, 1967 and 1973-that have convulsed the region. The legacy of these wars for Syria, including an influx of Palestinian refugees, Israel’s continued occupation of the Golan Heights, and the enmity of successive U.S. Administrations that support Israel, is shown to serve as a national rallying cry and an obstacle to diplomatic relations. The film also examines tensions on Syria’s other borders, including the northern province of Iskenderum, annexed by Turkey in 1939, where disputes over water resources and Syria’s support of Kurdish rebels inflame relations with Turkey. Syria’s self-styled and controversial role as “protector” of Lebanon, through the deployment of army troops and its secret service, and its alleged assassination of independent Lebanese politicians to assure its continued political and economical control of that nation, is also critically examined. SYRIA also looks at the political instability created by the U.S. occupation of Iraq, with the influx of millions of Iraqi refugees into Syria, what it sees as the virtual creation of a “common border” with America, and Syria’s collusion with Iran in the financing and arming of the resistance forces in Iraq. (52 mins. Syria)

Saturday, November 21 @ 5:30 p.m.
CAIRO STATION by Youssef Chahine.

The Arab world suffered a great loss with the passing this past year of Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine. We celebrate his legacy with a 50th anniversary screening of his steamy noir masterpiece of repressed sexuality, madness and violence set in the city’s central train depot, Cairo Station earned the director international recognition and acclaim when it was awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1958. Crippled Kenaoui (Chahine), nicknamed “Limpy” by his cruel co-workers, sells newspapers in Cairo’s central station. Living out on the tracks, earning barely enough to keep the makeshift roof over his head, he spends his days fantasising about the voluptuous Hanuma, a lemonade seller engaged to macho porter Abou Serib. Kenaoui’s convinced she’ll eventually fall in love with him if he keeps pursuing her. But with a murderer on the loose in Cairo, things may yet take an unexpected turn. (75 mins. Eqypt)

Saturday, November 21 @ 7:30 p.m.
GARBAGE DREAMS by Mai Iskander. Filmed over four years, Garbage Dreams follows three teenage boys – Adham, a bright precocious 17-year-old; Osama, a charming impish 16-year-old; Nabil, a shy artisitic 18-year-old – born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, a ghetto located on the outskirts of Cairo. It is a world folded onto itself, an impenetrable labyrinth of narrow roadways camouflaged by trash; it is home to 60,000 Zaballeen, Egypt’s “garbage people.” For generations, the residents of Cairo have depended on the Zaballeen to collect their trash, paying them only a minimal amount for their garbage collection services. The Zaballeen survive by recycling the city’s waste. These entrepreneurial garbage workers recycle 80% of all the garbage they collect, creating what is arguably the world’s most efficient waste disposal system. In 2003, following the international trend to privatize services, the city decided to replace the Zabelleen with multinational garbage disposal companies. Their giant waste trucks now line the streets, but they are contractually obligated to recycle only 20% of what they collect, leaving the rest to rot in giant landfills. Suddenly, the Zabelleen community is finding their way of life disappearing before their eyes. Face to face with the globalization of their trade, each of the teenage boys is forced to make choices that will impact his future and the survival of his community. (79 mins. Egypt)

Saturday, November 21 @ 9:30 p.m.
CITY OF BORDERS by Yun Suh. This award-winning documentary by Asian American woman director Yun Suh (Comfort Women, Sabra & Shatila) follows the daily lives of five Israelis and Palestinians at Jerusalem’s only gay bar as they navigate the minefield of politics, religion and discrimination to live and love openly. Set against the construction of the separation wall between Israel and the Palestinian territories and the struggle for a gay pride parade in Jerusalem, these inter-woven stories reveal the contradictions and complexity of the struggle for acceptance. “Everyone comes from their own ghetto and meets at Shushan,” says the bar owner Sa’ar Netanel, a secular Israeli and Jerusalem’s first openly gay city council member. His outspokenness has made Sa’ar a target of numerous death threats. For devout Muslim Palestinian, Boody, going to Shushan means endangering his life in an illegal nighttime border crossing from the West Bank to Jerusalem. He creeps under razor wire, scales cement walls and dodges Israeli soldiers in order to reach the only place where he feels free to fully express himself. Former Israeli soldier, Adam Russo, dances shirtless on stage, displaying visible scars on his chest and arms. In 2005, he was stabbed by an Orthodox Jew while marching at the head of Jerusalem’s gay pride parade. On the dance floor, a Palestinian Israeli nurse, Samira Saraya, kisses her lover of four years, Ravit Geva, a Jewish Israeli doctor. Their union breaks two of Middle Eastern society’s biggest taboos: same-sex relations and intimacy between Jews and Arabs. Outside of the bar, Jewish, Muslim and Christian groups, in a rare show of solidarity, strive to eliminate all demonstrations of gay identity through riots and death threats. In observing the patrons’ daily fight for dignity and their very existence, this extremely relevant and inspiring documentary explores the bond forged when people from warring worlds embrace what they share in common rather than be divided by their differences. Winner Teddy Audience Award, Berlin Film Festival and Best International Feature Vancouver Queer Film Festival. (66 mins. Palestine/Israel) Screens with EZRA (3 mins. Palestine)

Sunday, November 22 @ 3:30 p.m.
SALATA BALADI (AN EGYPTTIAN SALAD) by Nadia Kamel.

Award-winning Egyptian filmmaker Nadia Kamel’s heritage is a complex blend of religions and cultures. Her mother is a half-Jewish, half-Italian Christian who converted to Islam when she married Nadia’s half-Turkish, half-Ukrainian father. Prompted by the realization that her 10-year-old nephew Nabeel is growing up in an Egyptian society where talk of culture clashes is all too common, she urges her feminist, pacifist, activist mother, Mary Rosenthal, to share their diverse family history. But, as she and Mary weave their way through the family’s multiethnic fairytales, they bump unexpectedly into the silence around old prejudices concerning the estranged Egyptian-Jewish branch of their family living in Israel since 1948. Bravely inspired to further challenge the boundaries between cultures, religions, and nationalities that are used to divide people, Kamel embarks on an amazing personal journey with her mother and nephew to Israel and Italy, confronting with an open heart, fears and prejudices along the way. (105 mins. Egypt)

Sunday, November 22 @ 5:30 p.m.
RECYCLE by Mahmoud al Massad.

Zarqa, Jordan’s second largest city, is an industrial center with more than one million residents. At a time of America’s ongoing “Global War on Terrorism,” the everyday conversations of its citizens revolve around not only the local economy or the lack of freedom of expression, but also on the need for pan-Arab unity, the rise of political Islam, and whether or not a faithful Muslim has a religious duty to engage in jihad. The latter debates are particularly topical since Zarqa is also the birthplace of Ahmad Fadeel, better known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the notorious leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq until his death in a U.S. bombing in June 2006. Many in the city knew Zarqawi, his relatives still live there, and it remains a source of new recruits for the global jihad. RECYCLE is a portrait of the city as seen through the eyes of Abu Ammar, a forty-something Jordanian who served as a mujahid during the Afghan-Soviet War, and the former owner of a failed grocery store who now struggles to support his two wives and eight children by collecting discarded cardboard for sale to a recycling plant. A deeply religious man, he has also collected thousands of scraps of paper with Islamic sayings that he intends to use in a book on jihad, as soon as he can find a publisher. The film joins Abu Ammar on his daily work routine, in intimate family settings at home, at prayer, and after his arrest and four-month imprisonment on suspicion of involvement in the 2005 hotel bombings in Amman. His periodic, wide-ranging conversations with friends and neighbors include the inadvisability for Muslims of working or living in “infidel” countries, the 9/11 attacks in America, the rise of extremist violence, and the role of Muslim theologians. (77 mins. Jordan)

As a fundraiser for the Third NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL, Zeitgeist is now offering

PALESTINIAN FAIR TRADE GIFTS

Zeitgeist has partnered with CANAAN FAIR TRADE to become the New Orleans vendor for their exclusive line of Palestinian Fair trade olives, olive oils, and gifts. Based in Jenin, Palestine, Canaan Fair Trade sells olive oil and other delicacies produced by over 1,700 small farmers organized in informal cooperatives and represented by the Palestinian Fair Trade association (PFTA). Canaan Fair Trade uses the fair trade concept to empower marginalized Palestinian rural communities caught in conflict so they can sustain their livelihoods and culture.

$15 – Nabali Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 500 ml

$15 – Rumi Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 500 ml

$6 – Organic Nabali Olives

$8 – Tree Ripened Olives

Palestinian Fair Trade Baskets featuring a 1000ml tin of Nabali olive oil, 250g jar of Green Olives, 250g jar of Tree-Ripened Olives, 350g jar of Tahini, 250g pack of hand-rolled and sun-dried Couscous, 150g of Almonds, and 150g of Za’atar, all in a handwoven basket of olive twigs made in the ancient Palestinian tradition. $100.

plus

Zeitgeist has expanded to include a new alternative DVD & Book Store featuring books and DVD’s related to the Middle East and Palestine.

Titles currently in stock include:

Victims of a Map: A Bilingual Anthology of Arabic Poetry
My Name is Rachel Corrie: A Play
Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems
breaking poems by Suheir Hammad
Zaater Diva by Suheir Hammad
Poets for Palestine by Remi Kanazi
The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology
Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology
Palestine’s Children: Returning to Haifa and Other Stories
Arab Folk Tales from Palestine and Lebanon: Abu Jameel’s Daughter and Other Stories
Speak Palestine, Speak Again
Ghaddar the Ghoul and Other Palestinian Stories
Oranges in No Man’s Land
ARAB in America
Stolen Youth: The Politics of Israel’s Detention of Palestinian Children
The State of the Middle East: An Atlas of Conflict and Resolution
Surrounded: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
The Olive Grove: A Palestinian Story
THE ARAB SUMMIT – Fear of an Arab Planet – a Palestinian hip hop (CD)
OCCUPATION 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority – DVD (Palestine)
GAZA STRIP – DVD (Palestine)
CHRONICLES OF A REFUGEE (A three Disc box set of Palestinian docs) – DVD (Palestine)
BAM 6.6: Humanity Has No Borders – DVD (Iran)
DISPATCHES – Big Noise Media Collective – 1, 2, 3, & 4 – DVD (Iraq & Middle East)
THE WAR OF 33: Letters From Beirut – DVD (Lebanon)
THE FOURTH WORLD WAR – DVD (Palestine & Middle East)
DESERTER – DVD (Iraq)
SCAREDSACRED – DVD (Palestine)
HAMOUN – DVD (Iran)
OF LOVE AND EGGS – DVD (Indonesia)
BORDER CAFE – DVD (Iran)
LEILA – DVD (Iran)
WOMEN’S PRISON – DVD (Iran)
DESERTED STATION – DVD (Iran)
THE SUITORS – DVD (Iran)
WAR PHOTOGRAPHER – DVD (Middle East)
THE KITE – DVD (Lebanon)
DANGEROUS LIVING: Coming Out in a Developing world – DVD (Middle East)
MEETING RESISTANCE – DVD (Iraq)
KILOMETRE ZERO – DVD (Iraq/Iran)
TEN / TEN ON TEN by Abbas Kiarostami – DVD (iran)
CLIMATES – DVD (Turkey)
SOUND OF THE SOUL: The Fez Music Festival – DVD (Morocco)
LE GRAND VOYAGE – DVD (Middle East)
I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE – DVD (Palestine)
THE BOY WHO PLAYS ON THE BUDDHA’S OH BAMIYAN – DVD (Afghanistan)
CRIMSON GOLD – DVD (Iran)

Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 352-1150 cell, (504) 522-0309 office, (504) 827-5858 theatre

All proceeds benefit the Third New Orleans Middle East Film Festival – November 12 through 22, 2009.
_______

The second annual

NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EASTERN FILM FESTIVAL

August 1 through 10 , 2008

Presented by Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center

http://www.zeitgeistinc.net

_______________________________________________________________

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS:

BEST SHORT: BE QUIET by Sameh Zoabi (Palestine/France)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: THESE GIRLS by Tahani Rached (Egypt)

BEST FEATURE FILM: CAPTAIB ABU RAED by Amin Matalqa (Jordan)
________________________________________________________________

Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center
http://www.zeitgeistinc.net

presents

2nd NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL

http://nolamideastfilmfest.blogspot.com/

AUGUST 1 through 10, 2008

All events @
ZEITGEIST MULTI_DISCIPLINARY ARTS CENTER
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
(in the Saturn Screen Printing Building, between Euterpe & Terpsichore, across from Café Reconcile)
(504) 827-5858 recording (504) 352-1150 real person rene@zeitgeistinc.net

In any writing or screenwriting class you quickly learn that the most important element to any good story is conflict. In the Middle East, conflict is a more abundant natural resource than even oil. Curated by Rene Broussard, this remarkable program of films will explore the extremely rich and complex history, politics and culture of this volatile region. Acclaimed and Award-winning new films from or about Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates will be shown over ten amazing nights including food, music, and visual art.

Sponsored by the NEW ORLEANS PALESTINE SOLIDARITY, NEW ORLEANS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL, NEW ORLEANS CHARITABLE FILM NETWORK, ARAB FILM DISTRIBUTION / TYPECAST FILMS, WOMEN MAKE MOVIES, NEW ORLEANS CONSULATE DE FRANCE, KRUZ BOUTIQUE, CAFÉ ARABESQUE, ARTEEAST and ZEITGEIST INC.

click on the image to your left to enlarge and copy the festival flyer. Please print it and feel free to post it or send it to everyone you know.

_______

2nd NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1:

6:00 p.m. – PATRON PARTY/OPENING RECEPTION catered by Café Arabesque.
7:00 p.m. – BEAUFORT (Israel)
9:30 p.m. – ZONE FRONTALIERE (Lebanon) with visiting experimental French filmmaker Christophe Karabache
10:30 p.m. – TARIK HASSAN TRIO – opening night party/jazz concert

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2:

2:00 p.m. – CINEMA ON FIRE with SHIRIN NESHAT (Iran)
3:30 p.m. – BEIRUT DIARIES (Lebanon)
5:00 p.m. – ENRAGED (Israel/Palestine)
6:15 p.m. – SHORTS – A FEW CRUMBS FOR THE BIRDS (Jordan), WET TILES (United Arab Emirates), TRANSIT and BE QUIET (Palestine)
7:30 p.m. – TIME AND WINDS (Turkey)
9:30 p.m. – JAPAN, JAPAN (Israel)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 3:

2:00 p.m. – SARI GELIN (Turkey/Armenian)
3:30 p.m. – KASABA (SMALL TOWN) (Turkey)
5:30 p.m. – TO DIE IN JERUSALEM (Israel/Palestine)
7:00 p.m. – DUNIA (KISS ME NOT ON THE EYES) (Eqypt)
9:00 p.m. – ATASHBAS (CEASE FIRE) (Iran)

MONDAY, AUGUST 4:

5:30 p.m. – PROSTITUTION IN IRAN (Iran)
7:00 p.m. – CLOUDS OF MAY (Turkey)
9:30 p.m. – RAFAH CHRONICLE with LIGNE VERTE (Palestine)

TUESDAY, AUGUST 5:

5:30 p.m. – ENCOUNTER POINT (Palestine)
7:00 p.m. – FRATRICIDE (Turkey)
9:00 p.m. – CAFÉ SATERAH (Iran)

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6:

5:30 p.m. – BLOOD AND OIL (Middle East)
7:00 p.m. – BLACK TAPE (Iran)
8:30 p.m. – BAGHDAD SHORTS VOLUME 1 (Iraq)

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7:

5:30 p.m. – HOME GAME (Israel)
7:00 p.m. – BAGHDAD SHORTS VOLUME 2 (Iraq)
9:00 p.m. – TO SEE IF I’M SMILING (Israel/Palestine)
10:30 p.m. – BUFFALO CLOVER (from Nashville) with the ROVEN CIRCUS – Non festival Concert/Happening

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8:

5:15 p.m. – CAIRO AS SEEN BY CHAHINE plus THESE GIRLS (Eqypt)
7:00 p.m. – SYRIAN SHORTS – BEFORE VANISHING; WE WILL LIVE TO SEE THESE THINGS plus NOT A MATTER OF IF BUT WHEN (Syria)
9:00 p.m. – LEBANESE SHORTS – I SWAM IN THE SEA LAST WEEK; FROM BEIRUT WITH LOVE; (AS IF) BEAUTY NEVER ENDS…; SAVING FACE plus AFTER SHAVE (BEYROUTH APRES-RASAGE)
10:30 p.m. – CHRIS BECKER PRESENTS (an evening of original music to silent short films by NY and N.O. filmmakers)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 9:

2:00 p.m. – 33 DAYS (Lebanon)
3:30 p.m. – BEIRUT MARATHON (Lebanon) with visiting filmmaker Deborah Harse.
5:30 p.m. – 3 TIMES DIVORCED (Palestine)
7:00 p.m. – THE CORPORAL’S DIARY; ALLAHU AKBAR plus AMER & NASSER (Iraq)
8:30 p.m. – BEAUFORT (Israel)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 10:

2:00 p.m. – JEWS OF IRAN (Iran)
3:00 p.m. – IRANIAN WOMEN FILMMAKERS with SHIRIN NESHAT (Iran)
4:30 p.m. – DISTANT (Turkey)
6:30 p.m. – A JIHAD FOR LOVE (Middle East)
8:00 p.m. – CLOSING FILM – CAPTAIN ABU RAED (Jordan) – Audience Award winner – Sundance 2008
10:00 p.m. – AUDIENCE AWARDS CEREMONY – RECEPTION
___________

2008 FILMS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:

Friday, August 1 @ 7:00 p.m. plus Saturday, August, 9 @ 8:30 p.m.
BEAUFORT by Joseph Cedar.

Winner Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival and a Best Foreign Language Academy Award 2007 nominee. Lebanon in the year 2000. Beaufort, is a military base kept by the Israeli army. This heavily guarded post has been here since the war in Lebanon in 1982. It is a symbol not only of Israel’s most controversial campaign for military control of Lebanon, but also of a sacrificial struggle during which many soldiers lost their lives. On the evening of May 24th, the base was destroyed, blown up by thousands of mines. The powerful explosion marked the end of 18 years of Israeli occupation. The film tells the story of Liraz Liberti, the 22-year-old commander of Beaufort, and his troops during the last few months prior to their withdrawal. (Israel/Lebanon, 125 mins.)

Friday, August 1 @ 9:30 p.m.
ZONE FRONTALIERE (BORDER ZONE) by Christophe Karabache.

Lebanon, in the aftermath of the war of July-August 2006. A journey between Beirut and the South shows bodies going through suffocation, political crisis and uncertain chaos. Border Lines of a war…suspended. A waking up in the ruins. Sleepwalker in blood. Check point / territory / Shelter / bombs. Beirut…fragments of frontage. Division, scission, skeletons of cement, corpses cut down. A Human cry from the debris. A beautiful and poetic film. Experimental filmmaker Christophe Karabache will present his film (pending a visa from the U.S. government). Sponsored by the New Orleans Consulate de France. (Lebanon, 45 mins.)

You can checkout an english language translation of Christophe’s complete filmography at http://babelfish.yahoo.com/translate_url?tt=url&trurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.etna-cinema.net%2Fkarabache.php&lp=fr_en&.intl=us&fr=yfp-t-309

Saturday, August 2 @ 2:00 p.m. & Sunday, August 10 @ 3:00 p.m.
SHIRIN NESHAT.

A profile of the acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, and video artist, Iranian-born Shirin Neshat addresses the complex forces shaping the identity of Muslim women throughout the world and explores the social, political, and psychological dimensions of women’s experiences. Shirin Neshat is scheduled to come to New Orleans as part of PROSPECT ONE in November. (Iran, 30 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 2:00 p.m.
CINEMA ON FIRE by Mark Cousins. These two documentaries look at the international success of Iranian cinema. Cinema on Fire features filmmakers Abbas Kiarostami (A Taste of Cherry), Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon), Dariush Mehrjui (The Cow) and Bahraim Beizai (Bashu, The Little Stranger). (Iran, 45 mins.) Screens with SHIRIN NESHAT (Iran, 30 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 3:30 p.m.
BEIRUT DIARIES by Mai Masri. Noted Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri presents an eye-opening documentary centered on the women who staged a sit-in after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. (Lebanon, 80 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 5:00 p.m.
ENRAGED: ISRAELIS RESISTING OCCUPATION by Eyal Eithcowich.

“Enraged” follows a group of Jewish-Israeli activists who refuse to sit back while the occupation continues. They bring food into Palestinian villages under curfew, tear down parts of the separation barrier, and serve as human shields for Palestinian demonstrators. In Israel they are ostracized; in Palestine they endure a similar fate to that of the Palestinians—they are beaten, sprayed with tear-gas, and shot at with rubber-coated bullets. One such bullet hits one of the film’s main characters, a 16 year old boy from Tel Aviv, in the head, permanently impairing his eyesight. The heroes of “Enraged” jolt viewers out of their passivity, forcing them to ask: what can I do to end the occupation? (Israel/Palestine, 58 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 6:15 p.m.
SHORTS: A FEW CRUMBS FOR BIRDS directed by Nassim Amaouche. (Jordan) WET TILES (U.A.E.), TRANSIT and BE QUIET (Palestine). (see individual film descriptions by country below)(63 mins. TRT)

Saturday, August 2 @ 7:30 p.m.
TIME AND WINDS by Reha Erdem.

A small, poor village leaning over high rocky mountains, facing the immense sea, flanked by olive yards. Villagers are simple and diligent people who struggle to cope with a harsh nature. They earn their living, on a daily survival basis, out of the earth and of the few animals they feed. They live according to the rhythm of the earth, air and water, day and night and seasons. The daily time is divided into five parts by the sound of the call to prayer. Every day, all human events are lived through within these five time slices. In child raising, grownups go on with the practice they have experienced by their parents. They expose their love awkwardly and consider beating a favorable method. Fathers always prefer one of their sons. Mothers command their daughters ruthlessly. Ömer, Yakup and Yildiz, three children of about 12,13 years old, just between childhood and youth, are the prominent characters in this movie of five times. Ömer, the son of the imam, wishes hopelessly for the death of his father. When he understands that wishful thinking does not have any concrete results, he begins to search for childish ways to kill his father. He shares his guilty thoughts with his friend Yakup. Children study in the village school consisting of only one classroom. Families show their gratitude to the young woman teacher by giving her presents -the bread they cook themselves, the milk of their own sheep. Yakup is in love with his teacher. He hides his guilty feelings even from his best friend Ömer. When some day he sees his father spying the teacher, he dreams, like Yakup, of killing his father. Yildiz both studies and tries to manage the household works imposed by her own mother. She tries to be a mother for her baby brother. On the other hand, she learns with irritation about the secrets of the relationship between men and women. Five times elapse. Children, oscillating between rage and guilt, grow up slowly. (Turkey, 111 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 9:30 p.m.
JAPAN, JAPAN by Lior Shamriz.

Imri, a handsome, gay, nineteen-year-old, ex-soldier moves to Tel Aviv but dreams ultimately of moving to Japan. For the time being, however, he settles into an apartment, complete with an oddball roommate, and toils away at a random job. In his off hours, he cruises for boys, investigates the scene, and religiously surfs porn, which invades the film, creating an exotic, sexually graphic cyberspace landscape in parallel existence with Lior’s more mundane everyday existence. Japan Japan admirably crams more male nudity and cinema theory into its first sixty seconds than any film you’ve ever seen (unless you are a really major porn aficionado). Semi-improvised but immediately and viscerally accessible, Japan, Japan signals Lior Shamriz and lead actor Imri Kahn as ones to watch. (Israel, 65 mins.)

Sunday, August 3 @ 2:00 p.m.
SARI GELIN: THE TRUE STORY by Ismail Umaç. One of the major conflicts/debates in the middle east is the question of the Turkish/Armenian Genocide. To people on both sides of the debate it is one that provokes great passion, extreme pain and ultimately affects their national identity. To some it is a question of semantics, what constitutes a massacre vs. what constitutes a genocide? Presented by the Turkish American Association of Louisiana. (Turkey, 70 mins.)

Sunday, August 3 @ 3:30 p.m.
KASABA (SMALL TOWN) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

KASABA describes relationships between members of a Turkish family in a small town. The first part is in a primary school where the family’s 11-year-old daughter is a pupil. It shows the social environment to which she has to adopt, and its difficulties. The second part is in spring. We see the girl with her brother, who is four years younger, and their journey to the cornfield where their family are waiting for them. In the third part the brother and sister witness the complexities and darkness of the adult world… The fourth part takes place at home. This is a tranquil sequence moving between reality and dream. (Turkey, 85 mins.)

Sunday. August 3 @ 5:30 p.m.
TO DIE IN JERUSALEM by Hilla Medalia. Rachel Levy, a 17 year old Israeli, was killed in Jerusalem by a Palestinian suicide bomber, Ayat al-Akhras, also 17, a schoolgirl from a Palestinian refugee camp several miles away. The two young women looked unbelievably alike. The film unabashedly explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the personal loss of two families. (Israel/Palestine, 76 mins.)

Sunday, August 3 @ 7:00 p.m.
DUNIA (KISS ME NOT ON THE EYES) by Jocelyn Saab.

Dunia is an Egyptian woman in her early twenties whose mother was a famous belly dancer. Dunia has inherited her mother’s beauty and talent, but is also keenly intelligent and is studying toward a master’s degree in literature. Dunia is swept off her feet by Mamdouh, a handsome young man who values her intelligence and independence. However, when Dunia marries Mamdouh, his attitude abruptly changes as he makes it his mission to stifle her forthright nature. (Eqypt, 110 mins.)

Sunday, August 3 @ 9:00 p.m.
ATASHBAS (CEASE FIRE) by Tahmineh Milani.

In this romantic comedy, an attractive young married couple with money to burn snipe at each other, destroys the house, run each other off the road and nearly divorce, this irreverent romantic comedy, spiced with saucy dialogue is the biggest box office hit in Iranian cinema history. (Iran, 90 mins.)

Monday, August 4 @ 5:30 p.m.
PROSTITUTION BEHIND THE VEIL by Nahid Persson. The film is a sympathetic portrait of the two women working as prostitutes in a country that prosecutes adulterers with capital punishment. To buy sex and still comply with Muslim law: men can marry the women in what is called “Sighe,” a temporary marriage sanctioned in Shia Islam. Sighe can last from two hours up to 99 years. (Iran, 58 mins.)

Monday, August 4 @ 7:00 p.m.
CLOUDS OF MAY by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

This May in the small town seems to be warmer and gloomier than the previous years. Still, everyone seems to be happy despite their small worries and lives closed for any surprises. However, this happiness is a little disturbed by the arrival of Muzaffer who has made up his mind to shoot a film in this town where he had passed his childhood. (Turkey, 130 mins.)

Monday, August 4 @ 9:30 p.m.
RAFAH, CHRONICLE OF A CITY IN THE GAZA STRIP by Stéphane Marchetti & Alexis Monchovet.

A close quarters portrait of the Palestinian city in the course of a year of upheavals (12 September 2005 – 12 September 2006). Rafah is located in the southern Gaza Strip. It’s a city cut in two by the Philadelphia Road, a security corridor between Sinai and Gaza. Screens with the animated short LIGNE VERTE (Palestine, 56 mins. TRT)

Tuesday, August 5 @ 5:30 p.m.
ENCOUNTER POINT by Ronit Avni & Julia Bacha. 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. A film about hope, true courage and grassroots peace efforts. (Palestine, 85 mins.)

Tuesday, August 5 @ 7:00 p.m.
FRATRICIDE by Yilmaz Arslan.

Semo, is a Kurdish immigrant and pimp living in Germany. His younger brother Azad is in an asylum for refugees where, amidst hopeless squalor he befriends Ibo, an eleven-year-old orphan, also Kurdish. A powerful and tender bond grows between the two boys, but the odds are against them. Ahmet and Zeki are young second-generation Turks. Frustrated, unemployed, and alienated from their heritage they devote themselves to petty crime and their savage pit bulls. When these doomed exiles meet, their encounter unleashes a nightmarish cycle of violence. (Turkey, 92 mins.)

Tuesday, August 5 @ 9:00 p.m.
CAFE SETAREH by Saman Moghadam.

The itch for change felt by three women living in a poor Tehran neighborhood is palpably expressed in this multi-award winning finely nuanced film. The rare film equally influenced by Quentin Tarantino, Jean Renoir and William Saroyan, this time-winding triptych has a deep humanist sense and a feel for working-class folk whiling away the hours. The film also reminds that, in a country theoretically oppressive of women’s full expression, Iranian cinema is second to none as a delivery vehicle for rich dramas about women. Three women in an old district of Tehran face challenges. Fariba supports herself and family by managing a small cafe in the district with no support from her jobless, debauched husband. Young and beautiful Saloomeh dreams of marrying Ebi. She wants for more comfortable life, but Ebi, a mechanic, cannot even pay for a wedding or apartment. Moluk, a middle-aged woman, has fallen for a younger man, but… (Iran, 102 mins.)

Wednesday, August 6 @ 5:30 p.m.
BLOOD AND OIL by Jeremy Earp. The notion that oil motivates America’s military engagements in the Middle East is often disregarded as mere conspiracy theory. Blood and Oil, a new documentary based on the critically-acclaimed work of Nation magazine defense correspondent Michael T. Klare, challenges this conventional wisdom to correct the historical record. (US/Middle East, 52 mins.)

Wednesday, August 6 @ 7:00 p.m.
BLACK TAPE: A TEHRAN DIARY, THE VIDEOTAPE FARIBORZ KAMBARI FOUND IN THE GARBAGE by Fariborz Kamkari.

Banned in Iran this experimental film uses fictionalized, grainy, home video footage to tell the story of the abusive relationship between a successful middle aged Iranian businessman and his 18 year old wife, Goli. She has just received a camcorder as his birthday present and the entire story is told from the view of this camcorder. Goli has lived with him and been his sex slave since he took her captive as a nine year old from her family in the Kurdish rebellion. She is now pregnant. As she starts to talk back to him, he discovers that she has learned English and started to read. He must now make her a prisoner in his home. (Iran. 83 mins.)

Wednesday, August 6 @ 9:00 p.m.
BAGHDAD SHORTS COLLECTION – VOL. 1
These five short films were made by students at the Independent Film & Television College of Baghdad between the end of 2004 and May of 2007. Each piece offers viewers a window into the life of ordinary Iraqis during this extraordinary and turbulent time. Documentary Course – March, 2006 . Director Kamal documents the lives of his fellow college students as they enroll in classes and face the challenges of filming in the war-torn streets of Iraq. Hiwar . Opened in 1992, the Hiwar Center is a gathering place for artists, musicians and filmmakers. This wonderful short work showcases the center and explores its role as a vibrant meeting-place in the heart of Baghdad. Dr. Nabil . A committed surgeon and father, Dr. Nabil works at a small, understaffed Baghdad hospital suffering from a lack of equipment and medicine. Though other doctors have been killed or have fled the country, Dr. Nabil has decided to stay. Baghdad Days. This video diary chronicles Hiba Bassem’s first year in Baghdad as she searches for a place to live, looks for work, attends college, deals with family problems and struggles to come to terms with her position as a woman living on her own. Thinking About Leaving . Living in a house with her sisters, mother and brother without electricity and surrounded by constant danger, director Hiba Bassem ruminates about what the past three years have brought to those who are living in Iraq. (Iraq, 87 mins.)

Thursday, August 7 @ 5:30 p.m.
HOME GAME by Yaron Shane. “Home Game” documents the story of graduating 12th graders, from the Israeli settlement of Netzer Hazani, during their last vacation before adulthood. Their yearly summers usually focused on the annual youth final four basketball competition. Yet their 2005 summer vacation turned into something else entirely because the Israeli government began to implement its plan to remove them from their homes in Gush Katif, Gaza, as part of the Middle East peace process. Instead of just competing on the basketball court they were also forced to compete on their ‘home’ court as well. This is a documentary about the teenage years, growing up and the youth who were forced to deal with a confusing reality that potentially harmed their whole system of beliefs and values. On the day all Israeli civilians were ordered to leave Gush Katif, high school students from Netzer Hazani held their final basketball game, which would decide the tournament. “Apparently someone above intended it to be that way,” a Gush Katif resident in the movie said. “There are still many people who won’t allow themselves to feel sympathy for the families of Gush Katif,” Avi Abelow, the film’s producer added that the film’s aim was to “put aside political views, and to start to understand who these people are.” (Israel, 83 mins.)

Thursday, August 7 @ 7:00 p.m.
BAGHDAD SHORTS COLLECTION – VOL. 2
These six short films were made by students at the Independent Film & Television College of Baghdad between the end of 2004 and May of 2007. Each piece offers viewers a window into the life of ordinary Iraqis during this extraordinary and turbulent time. Staying. The Dora District of Baghdad was once a lively area full of palm groves and people of all kinds, but that all changed with the US invasion of Iraq. Leaving . Bahram Al Zuhairi’s powerful film documents an Iraqi family’s painful journey as they sell their personal effects and make the dangerous trip to their new home in Syria. Omar Is My Friend. A student at Baghdad University, Omar also works as a taxi driver to make ends meet for his family. Here he discusses various hardships facing Iraqis today. Let the Show Begin . Preparation and staging of the Baghdad International Short Film Festival is the subject here. This cultural event moved foward in spite of formidable obstacles. A Stranger In His Own Country. A refugee from Kirkuk living in a camp outside Kerbala, Abu Ali struggles to survive and provide for his family under the difficult circumstances they now face there. The Shabandar Cafe. A cultural landmark in the old center of Baghdad, the cafe had been a gathering place for Iraqi intellectuals for years. Sadly, it was destroyed by a car bomb in 2007. (Iraq, 106 mins.)

Thursday, August 7 @ 9:00 p.m.
TO SEE IF I’M SMILING by Tamar Yarom.

Israel is the only country in the world where 18-year-old girls are drafted for compulsory military service. In this award-winning documentary, the frank testimonials of six female Israeli soldiers stationed in Gaza and the West Bank pack a powerful emotional punch. The young women revisit their tours of duty in the occupied territories with surprising honesty and strip bare stereotypes of gender. (Israel/Palestine, 59 mins.)

Special Added Attraction:

The New Orleans Middle East Film Festival joins in mourning the passing of director Youssef Chahine, one of the Arab World’s most influential filmmakers and a treasure of international cinema.

World-famous Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, whose career as director spanned nearly six decades, died July 27th at his home in Cairo, Egypt at the age of 82. Born in Alexandria, Egypt on January 25, 1926, Chahine studied at Alexandria University for a year before moving to the USA to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. Returning to Egypt, Chahine turned his attention to directing, making his film debut with BAB AMIN [Papa Amin] in 1950. He received his first invitation to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival with his second feature, IBN AL-NIL [Nile Boy], in 1951. Youssef Chahine’s 1954 classic, SIRA’ FI AL-WADI [The Blazing Sun] featured the film debut of Omar Sharif, whom Chahine had discovered in a Cairo cafe. In 1958, Chahine himself starred alongside Hind Rostom and Farid Chawki in BAB EL HADID [Cairo Station], a noir-like thriller involving the working-classes in Cairo’s main railway station. Other career highlights include the popular epic films AL NASSER SALAH AD-DIN [Saladin] in 1963 and AL-ARD [The Land] in 1969, along with AL-ASFUR [The Sparrow] in 1973 and the semi-autobiographical, Fellini-influenced ALEXANDIRA TRILOGY, which includes the award-winning ISKANDARIYAH…LIH? [Alexandria... Why?] from 1978, HADDUTA MISRIYAH [An Egyptian Story] from 1982 and ISKANDARIYAH KAMAN WA KAMAN [Alexandria, Again and Forever] from 1989, for which Chahine again stepped in front of the camera as actor. In his later years, Chahine remained as busy as ever, directing AL-MISSER [Destiny] in 1997, SKOOT HANSAWWAR [Silence, We're Rolling] in 2001 and a coda to his ALEXANDRIA TRILOGY called ISKANDARIYAH, NEW YORK [Alexandria, New York] in 2004. He also contributed short films to international multi-director projects such as LUMIERE AND COMPANY in 1995 and 11’09″01-SEPTEMBER 11 in 2002. Chahine’s last feature, HEYA FAWDA [This Is Chaos] was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2007.

A prolific, creative and hardworking director, Youssef Chahine will be remembered not only for his imaginative, music-filled works that entertain audiences even as they examine the social and political issues of Egypt, but also for his role in bringing Egyptian cinema to the attention of appreciative moviegoers all around the world.

So in tribute to YOUSSEF CHAHINE the New Orleans Middle East Film Festival and Arab Film Distribution/Typecast Films respectfully present his seminal documentary CAIRO AS SEEN BY CHAHINE.

Friday, August 8 @ 5:15 p.m.
CAIRO AS SEEN BY CHAHINE a documentary by Youssef Chahine.

This concise masterpiece began as a commission by French TV for the news series Envoyé Spécial. Using his unique sense of artistic digression, Chahine transforms this portrait of a city into a self-portrait of a filmmaker. (Egypt, 21 mins.) Screens with THESE GIRLS (Egypt, 58 mins.)

Friday, August 8 @ 5:15 p.m.
THESE GIRLS by Tahani Rached.

This fresh, irresistibly lively and intensely engaging documentary follows a band of teenage girls living on the streets of Cairo. Rached won astonishing access to the girls’ world; this vigorous, cinematic film is built upon the deep trust of its subjects and the long experience of the filmmaker. Already at a disadvantage as impoverished and abused girls in a Muslim society, they encounter rape, drug addiction, prostitution, pregnancy and motherhood on the streets. While the girls’ troubles are not downplayed, neither are their courage, playfulness and vibrant camaraderie. Rached brings alive the pulse of Cairo’s streets, offering an unsentimental portrait that avoids traps of guilt or cheap pity. What stands out is the strength and sheer joy that these girls project. With deft skill Rached reveals an invisible world and offers a loving homage to the inspirational, fierce girls who inhabit it. (Eqypt, 68 mins.)

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
SYRIAN SHORTS: BEFORE VANISHING directed by Joude Gorani. WE WILL LIVE TO SEE THESE THINGS and NOT A MATTER OF IF BUT WHEN by Julia Meltzer & David Thorne. (see description of individual films listed by country below) (77 mins. TRT)

Friday, August 8 @ 9:00 p.m.
LEBANESE SHORTS: I SWAM IN THE SEA LAST WEEK directed by Nesrine Khodr; FROM BEIRUT WITH LOVE by Wael Noureddine; (AS IF) BEAUTY NEVER ENDS… by Jayce Salloum; AFTER SHAVE by Hamy Tamba; SAVING FACE by Jalal Toufic. (see description of individual films listed by country below) (80 mins. TRT)

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
SYRIAN SHORTS: BEFORE VANISHING directed by Joude Gorani. WE WILL LIVE TO SEE THESE THINGS and NOT A MATTER OF IF BUT WHEN by Julia Meltzer & David Thorne. (see description of individual films listed by country below) (77 mins. TRT)

Saturday, August 9 @ 2:00 p.m.
33 DAYS by Mai Masri.

Filmed during the massive Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006, 33 Days chronicles the lives of four young people working in theatre, media and emergency relief. (Lebanon, 70 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 3:30 p.m.
MARATHON BEIRUT, For the Love of Lebanon by Deborah Harse.

A documentary that was shot mostly in November-December 2006. A marathon in the aftermath of the war with Israel was an ardent metaphor for perseverance. Despite all the political upheavel, the Beirut Marathon Association chose to carry on with the event as a testament to the resilience of the Lebanese people. But just 5 days before the race, a government minister, Pierre Gemayel, was assassinated. After much deliberation, they decided not to cancel. Filmmaker Deborah Harse will be here to introduce the film. (Lebanon, 80 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 5:30 p.m.
3 TIMES DIVORCED by Ibtisam Salh Mara’ana. How does a Palestinian woman in Israel survive an abusive husband? When Gaza-born Khitam’s abusive Arab Israeli husband divorces her and gains custody of her six children, she suddenly finds herself fighting two heart-breaking battles: against the Sharia Muslim court to get her children back, and against the state of Israel, which considers her an illegal resident and denies her protection in a shelter for battered women. (Palestine/Israel, 74 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 7:00 p.m.
THE CORPORAL’S DIARY by Patricia Boiko & Laurel Spellman Smith.

Jonathan Santos, 22, documented his 37 days in Iraq on video and in writing; never knowing that day 38 would be his last. From high explosives to clandestine home brew, his video footage and witty narrative combine personal musings on life, death, and the future he imagined but would never see. Through Jonathan’s handwritten words and videotape, the film tells a personal and profound story. Screens with ALLAHU AKBAR plus AMER & NASSER (Iraq,70 mins.)

Saturday, August, 9 @ 8:30 p.m.
BEAUFORT by Joseph Cedar. (Israel/Lebanon, 125 mins.)

Sunday, August 10 @ 2:00 p.m.
JEWS OF IRAN by Ramin Farahani. This film takes you on a rare journey through Iran’s Jewish communities from Tehran to Isfahan, and finally to Shiraz, where an infamous case against jews accused of spying for Israel took place. (Iran, 52 mins.)

Sunday, August 10 @ 3:00 p.m.
IRANIAN WOMEN FILMMAKERS by Hamid Khairoldin & Majid Khabazian.

Iranian women directors and actresses speak about their films, including Rakhshan Bani Etemad (Nargess, Under the City’s Skin), Tahmineh Milani (The Hidden Half, Cease Fire), Samira Makhmalbaf (The Apple, Blackboards), photographer/video artist/experimental filmmaker Shirin Neshat (Zarin, Rapture), and actresses Niki Karimi and Fatemeh Motamed Aria. (Iran, 58 mins.) Screens with the documentary SHIRIN NESHAT (Iran, 30 mins.)

Sunday, August 10 @ 4:30 p.m.
DISTANT by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

A deeply compassionate and frequently amusing study of quiet desperation, Muzaffer Özdemir and Mehmet Emin Toprak shared Best Actor honors at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for their perfectly nuanced performances as (respectively) divorced, 40-something photographer Mahmut and his distant relative Yusef, who arrives in Istanbul looking for work, and quickly wears out his welcome. With understated humor, Ceylan observes Mahmut and Yusef’s chronic isolation. (Turkey. 105 mins.)

Sunday, August 10 @ 6:30 p.m.
A JIHAD FOR LOVE by Parvez Sharma.

Fourteen centuries after the revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad, Islam today is the world’s second largest and fastest growing religion. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith, discovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims. Produced by Sandi DuBowski (Trembling Before G-d), A Jihad for Love was filmed in 12 countries and 9 languages and comes from the heart of Islam. (Middle East, 81 mins.)

OFFICIAL CLOSING NIGHT GALA:

Sunday, August 10 @ 8:00 p.m.
CAPTAIN ABU RAED by Amin Matalqa.

Captain Abu Raed is a universal story of friendship, inspiration and heroism set in contemporary Jordan. Abu Raed is a lonely janitor at Amman’s International Airport. Never having realized his dreams of seeing the world, he experiences it vicariously through books and brief encounters with travelers. Finding a discarded Captain’s hat in the trash at work one day, he is followed by a neighborhood boy who spots him wearing it as he walks home. The next morning he wakes up to find a group of neighborhood children at his door, believing him to be an airline pilot. And thus the friendship begins. Happy for the company and attention, he takes the children to colorful places around the world through his fictional stories and inspires them to believe in their own ambitions. Murad, an angry outsider to the group, vindictively attacks Abu Raed and the sense of hope he instills in the children. In his quest to prove that Abu Raed is a liar and a fake, Murad begins to discover new possibilities in his life. Meanwhile, Abu Raed’s friendship with Nour, a real female pilot, begins to grow as she deals with her own set of pressures from life in modern Amman. Captain Abu Raed is the story of everyday people intersecting across social boundaries. It is a story of dreams, friendship, forgiveness, and sacrifice. Winner of the AUDIENCE AWARD at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Best Director, Seattle International Film Festival, and Best Actor and Best Actress Newport Beach Film Festival. http://www.captainaburaed.com/home/ (Jordan, 102 mins.)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

2008 FILMS BY COUNTRY:

From EQYPT:

Sunday, August 3 @ 7:00 p.m.
DUNIA (KISS ME NOT ON THE EYES) by Jocelyn Saab. Dunia (Hanane Turk) is an Egyptian woman in her early twenties whose mother was a famous belly dancer. Dunia has inherited her mother’s beauty and talent, but is also keenly intelligent and is studying toward a master’s degree in literature. Dunia studies dance under an instructor (Walid Aouni) who obviously is drawn to her as well as her skills, and she’s also caught the eye of Beshir (Mohamed Mounir), an instructor at her college who is also helping her with her thesis on romantic poetry of the Arab world. However, Dunia is swept off her feet by Mamdouh (Fathi Abelwahab), a handsome young man who values her intelligence and independence. However, when Dunia marries Mamdouh, his attitude changes as he makes it his business to stifle her forthright nature, while Dunia’s mother fears he may force Dunia to undergo the clitoral circumcision that was common to women of her generation. Wanting to express herself, Dunia signs up to take part in an international dance competition, but rather than traditional Egyptian belly dancing, she presents a bold performance piece inspired by the repression of women in her homeland. (Eqypt, 110 mins.)

Friday, August 8 @ 5:30 p.m.
THESE GIRLS by Tahani Rached. This fresh, irresistibly lively and intensely engaging documentary follows a band of teenage girls living on the streets of Cairo. Rached won astonishing access to the girls’ world; this vigorous, cinematic film is built upon the deep trust of its subjects and the long experience of the filmmaker. Already at a disadvantage as impoverished and abused girls in a Muslim society, they encounter rape, drug addiction, prostitution, pregnancy and motherhood on the streets. While the girls’ troubles are not downplayed, neither are their courage, playfulness and vibrant camaraderie. Rached brings alive the pulse of Cairo’s streets, offering an unsentimental portrait that avoids traps of guilt or cheap pity. What stands out is the strength and sheer joy that these girls project. With deft skill Rached reveals an invisible world and offers a loving homage to the inspirational, fierce girls who inhabit it. (Eqypt, 68 mins.)

From IRAN:

Sunday, August 10 @ 3:00 p.m.
IRANIAN WOMEN FILMMAKERS by Hamid Khairoldin & Majid Khabazian. Iranian women directors and actresses speak about their incentives, motives and challenges for making their films. In this film, directors such as Rakhshan Bani Etemad (Nargess, Under the City’s Skin), Tahmineh Milani (The Hidden Half, Cease Fire), Samira Makhmalbaf (The Apple, Blackboards), photographer/video artist/experimental filmmaker Shirin Neshat (Zarin, Rapture), and actresses such as Niki Karimi and Fatemeh Motamed Aria are presented. The film also covers the period when Tahmineh Milani was arrested in September 2001 in Tehran for her controversial film “The Hidden Half”. (Iran, 58 mins.) Screens with SHIRIN NESHAT (Iran, 30 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 2:00 p.m. plus Sunday, August 10 @ 3:00 p.m.
SHIRIN NESHAT A profile of the acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, and video artist, Iranian-born Shirin Neshat addresses the complex forces shaping the identity of Muslim women throughout the world and explores the social, political, and psychological dimensions of women’s experiences. In this documentary, she introduces and explicates her haunting video installations Shadow Under the Web; Turbulent; Soliloquy; Rapture; and Fervor, as well as her seminal series of still images, The Women of Allah. In addition, she discusses being both an insider and an outsider in two different cultures, the narrative power of cinema, sexual taboos in Islamic society, the tension between traditional and modern values, the nature of expression when expression itself is forbidden, and the quiet strength and bravery of women that prompts them to rebel against repression. (Iran, 30 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 2:00 p.m.
CINEMA ON FIRE by Mark Cousins. These two documentaries, which were produced for the South Bank Show, look at the Iranian cinema revolution and the international success of Iranian cinema. Cinema on Fire features film clips and interviews with film critics and renowned filmmakers Abbas Kiarostami (A Taste of Cherry, Close-up), Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, The Circle), Dariush Mehrjui (The Cow, Hamoun, Leila) and Bahraim Beizai (Bashu, The Little Stranger) and film festival programmers throughout Europe. (Iran, 45 mins.) Screens with SHIRIN NESHAT (Iran, 30 mins.)

Monday, August 4 @ 5:30 p.m.
PROSTITUTION BEHIND THE VEIL by Nahid Persson. The film is a sympathetic portrait of the two women, exploring their day-to-day life and the workings of prostitution in a country that bans it and prosecutes adulterers, sometimes with the penalty of capital punishment. Many of the clients find a way to buy sex and still comply with Muslim law: they marry the women in what is called “Sighe,” a temporary marriage sanctioned in Shia Islam. Sighe can last from two hours up to 99 years. Both Minna and Fariba enter into Sighe with clients, and Fariba is in a Sighe marriage with a neighbour, Habib, that lasts six months. Giving his perspective on temporary marriage, Habib says that Sighe is a way to help poor women, it is an act of mercy in the name of Allah. (Iran, 58 mins.)

Sunday, August 10 @ 2:00 p.m.
JEWS OF IRAN by Ramin Farahani. This film takes you on a rare journey through Iran’s Jewish communities from Tehran to Isfahan, and finally to Shiraz, where an infamous case against jews accused of spying for Israel took place. Director Ramin Farahani illuminates the vast discrimination of Jews in Iran, while simultaneously revealing the rich and passionate culture of a community, their strong relationship to their country, and their hopes for the future. The Jewish settlement in Iran dates back to 2700 years. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 resulted in the departure of many Jews from the country. This film concentrates on Jews living in Iran presently, with an eye on recent historic developments. In Tehran, young and old Jews speak about different kinds of discrimination. However, there are also positive aspects, such as a close friendship between two tolerant Muslim and Jewish families. There is a strong and responsive bond between the Jewish community. A lonely elderly woman from the old Jewish neighborhood of Tehran is treated for free at the Jewish hospital. In Isfahan, we witness the love and passion that the main characters have developed for the place they live in. Soleiman Sassoon is a Jewish artist who finds inspiration in Iranian art and Islamic architecture. In Shiraz, the film focuses more on an espionage case against the Jews. Parallel to this, we follow a young Jewish boy who is interested in computers and music. The film ends with a prayer before the Jewish New Year at a synagogue in Tehran. (Iran, 52 mins.)

Sunday, August 3 @ 9:00 p.m.
ATASHBAS (CEASE FIRE) by Tahmineh Milani. In this romantic comedy, an attractive young married couple with money to burn snipe at each other, destroy the house, run each other off the road and nearly divorce before they solve their problems in a psychiatrist’s office. It sounds like an Iranian “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” or “War Of The Roses”, only instead of being hired assassins, the warring protagonists in “Cease Fire” are an architect and an engineer. Persian audiences have devoured this irreverent romantic comedy, spiced with saucy dialogue that spoofs traditional gender roles through gritted teeth, making it the biggest box office champ in the history of Iranian cinema. Tahmineh Milani, known for feminist melodramas like Two Women and The Hidden Half, puts a pointed message below the fun. As much sociologist as filmmaker, Milani’s professed intent is to educate her countrymen about modern marriage, and to change male attitudes about wives with careers. (Iran, 90 mins.)

Tuesday, August 5 @ 9:00 p.m.
CAFE SETAREH by Saman Moghadam. The itch for change felt by three women living in a poor Tehran neighborhood is palpably expressed in this multi-award winning finely nuanced film. The rare film equally influenced by Quentin Tarantino, Jean Renoir and William Saroyan, this time-winding triptych has a deep humanist sense and a feel for working-class folk whiling away the hours. The film also reminds that, in a country theoretically oppressive of women’s full expression, Iranian cinema is second to none as a delivery vehicle for rich dramas about women. Three women in an old district of Tehran face challenges. Fariba supports herself and family by managing a small cafe in the district with no support from her jobless, debauched husband. Young and beautiful Saloomeh dreams of marrying Ebi. She wants for more comfortable life, but Ebi, a mechanic, cannot even pay for a wedding or apartment. Moluk, a middle-aged woman, has fallen for a younger man, but… (Iran, 102 mins.)

Wednesday, August 6 @ 7:00 p.m.
BLACK TAPE: A TEHRAN DIARY, THE VIDEOTAPE FARIBORZ KAMBARI FOUND IN THE GARBAGE by Fariborz Kamkari. Banned in Iran this experimental film uses fictionalized, grainy, home video footage to tell the story of the abusive relationship between a successful middle aged Iranian businessman and his 18 year old wife, Goli. She has just received a camcorder as his birthday present and the entire story is told from the view of this camcorder. Goli has lived with him and been his sex slave since he took her captive as a nine year old from her family in the Kurdish rebellion. She is now pregnant. As she starts to talk back to him, he discovers that she has learned English and started to read. He must now make her a prisoner in his home. (Iran. 83 mins.)

From IRAQ:

Wednesday, August 6 @ 9:00 p.m.
BAGHDAD SHORTS COLLECTION – VOL. 1
These five short films were made by students at the Independent Film & Television College of Baghdad between the end of 2004 and May of 2007. Each piece offers viewers a window into the life of ordinary Iraqis during this extraordinary and turbulent time. Documentary Course – March, 2006 . Director Kamal documents the lives of his fellow college students as they enroll in classes and face the challenges of filming in the war-torn streets of Iraq. Hiwar . Opened in 1992, the Hiwar Center is a gathering place for artists, musicians and filmmakers. This wonderful short work showcases the center and explores its role as a vibrant meeting-place in the heart of Baghdad. Dr. Nabil . A committed surgeon and father, Dr. Nabil works at a small, understaffed Baghdad hospital suffering from a lack of equipment and medicine. Though other doctors have been killed or have fled the country, Dr. Nabil has decided to stay. Baghdad Days. This video diary chronicles Hiba Bassem’s first year in Baghdad as she searches for a place to live, looks for work, attends college, deals with family problems and struggles to come to terms with her position as a woman living on her own. Thinking About Leaving . Living in a house with her sisters, mother and brother without electricity and surrounded by constant danger, director Hiba Bassem ruminates about what the past three years have brought to those who are living in Iraq. (Iraq, 87 mins.)

Thursday, August 7 @ 7:00 p.m.
BAGHDAD SHORTS COLLECTION – VOL. 2
These six short films were made by students at the Independent Film & Television College of Baghdad between the end of 2004 and May of 2007. Each piece offers viewers a window into the life of ordinary Iraqis during this extraordinary and turbulent time. Staying. The Dora District of Baghdad was once a lively area full of palm groves and people of all kinds, but that all changed with the US invasion of Iraq. Leaving . Bahram Al Zuhairi’s powerful film documents an Iraqi family’s painful journey as they sell their personal effects and make the dangerous trip to their new home in Syria. Omar Is My Friend. A student at Baghdad University, Omar also works as a taxi driver to make ends meet for his family. Here he discusses various hardships facing Iraqis today. Let the Show Begin . Preparation and staging of the Baghdad International Short Film Festival is the subject here. This cultural event moved foward in spite of formidable obstacles. A Stranger In His Own Country. A refugee from Kirkuk living in a camp outside Kerbala, Abu Ali struggles to survive and provide for his family under the difficult circumstances they now face there. The Shabandar Cafe. A cultural landmark in the old center of Baghdad, the cafe had been a gathering place for Iraqi intellectuals for years. Sadly, it was destroyed by a car bomb in 2007. (Iraq, 106 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 7:00 p.m.
THE CORPORAL’S DIARY by Patricia Boiko & Laurel Spellman Smith. Jonathan Santos, 22, documented his 37 days in Iraq on video and in writing; never knowing that day 38 would be his last. From high explosives to clandestine home brew, his video footage and witty narrative combine personal musings on life, death, and the future he imagined but would never see. Through Jonathan’s handwritten words and videotape, the film tells a personal and profound story. Thanks to Jonathan’s candid diary and videos, he will now be remembered as more than just dead soldier No. 1,096. The message rings clear: The victims of the Iraq War go beyond casualties on the field. (Iraq, 60 mins.) Screens with ALLAHU AKBAR plus AMER & NASSER (Iraq, 5 mins. each)

Saturday, August 9 @ 7:00 p.m.
ALLAHU AKBAR by Kristie Alshaibi. A joyful and playful animation made out of the traditional geometric themes of Islamic art. These complex geometries are rendered in simple black and white, and then superimposed and spun around their central axis, in a close rhythmic relationship with the lively soundtrack of traditional and popular Iraqi music. The result is a giddy playfulness, reminiscent of psychedelic Pop Art, and far removed from the contemplative quiet one normally associates with Mosques and the inner courtyards of traditional Arab architecture. (Iraq, 5 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 7:00 p.m.
AMER & NASSER directed by Al Fadhil. How can one talk about death without showing the dead? Or, experience suffering without seeing the wounds? A possible answer is found in “Amer & Nasser”, a videogram excerpted from a documentary on the 1991 rebellion of Iraqi people, which turned into a bloodbath. The two blindfolded faces apparently emanate serenity and resignation, but they also hide a terrible anguish. (Iraq, 5 mins.)

From ISRAEL:

Friday, August 1 @ 7:00 p.m. plus Saturday, August, 9 @ 8:30 p.m.
BEAUFORT by Joseph Cedar. Winner Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, and Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Sound at the Awards of the Israeli Film Academy as well as a Best Foreign Language Academy Award 2007 nominee. Lebanon in the year 2000. Not far from the old seafarer’s fortress, Beaufort, is a military base with the same name kept by the Israeli army. This heavily guarded post has been here since the war in Lebanon in 1982. It is a symbol not only of Israel’s most controversial campaign for military control of Lebanon, but also of a sacrificial struggle during which many soldiers lost their lives. The Israeli troops move out of Lebanon, leaving behind their base at Beaufort. On the evening of May 24th, the base is destroyed, blown up by thousands of mines. The powerful explosion marks the end of 18 years of Israeli occupation. The film tells the story of Liraz Liberti, the 22-year-old commander of Beaufort, and his troops during the last few months prior to their withdrawal. The story does not center on the war but on their retreat. The base is still under enemy fire as Liraz prepares to explode the site, thus destroying everything that his friends and comrades have died for trying to defend. (Israel/Lebanon, 125 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 9:30 p.m.
JAPAN, JAPAN by Lior Shamriz. Imri, a handsome, gay, nineteen-year-old, ex-soldier moves to Tel Aviv but dreams ultimately of moving to Japan. For the time being, however, he settles into an apartment, complete with an oddball roommate, and toils away at a random job. In his off hours, he cruises for boys, investigates the scene, and religiously surfs porn, which invades the film, creating an exotic, sexually graphic cyberspace landscape in parallel existence with Lior’s more mundane everyday existence. Japan Japan admirably crams more male nudity and cinema theory into its first sixty seconds than any film you’ve ever seen (unless you are a really major porn aficionado). Semi-improvised but immediately and viscerally accessible, Japan, Japan signals Lior Shamriz and lead actor Imri Kahn as ones to watch. (Israel, 65 mins.)

Thursday, August 7 @ 9:00 p.m.
TO SEE IF I’M SMILING by Tamar Yarom. Israel is the only country in the world where 18-year-old girls are drafted for compulsory military service. In this award-winning documentary, the frank testimonials of six female Israeli soldiers stationed in Gaza and the West Bank pack a powerful emotional punch. The young women revisit their tours of duty in the occupied territories with surprising honesty and strip bare stereotypes of gender differences in the military. The former soldiers share shocking moments of negligence, flippancy, immaturity and power-tripping as they describe atrocities they witnessed and participated in. The psychological transformation that these young women underwent as a result of military service is both unsettling and riveting. The culture of war transforms people: personalities change, moral codes are subverted, values are supplanted and masks are constructed to dull the pain of what they did and didn’t do in uniform. At a time when women in the military are increasingly on the frontlines, and the actions of soldiers all over the world are being questioned, this powerful film explores the ways that gender, ethics and moral responsibility intersect during war. (Israel/Palestine, 59 mins.)

Thursday, August 7 @ 5:30 p.m.
HOME GAME by Yaron Shane. “Home Game” documents the story of graduating 12th graders, from the Israeli settlement of Netzer Hazani, during their last vacation before adulthood. Their yearly summers usually focused on the annual youth final four basketball competition. Yet their 2005 summer vacation turned into something else entirely because the Israeli government began to implement its plan to remove them from their homes in Gush Katif, Gaza, as part of the Middle East peace process. Instead of just competing on the basketball court they were also forced to compete on their ‘home’ court as well. This is a documentary about the teenage years, growing up and the youth who were forced to deal with a confusing reality that potentially harmed their whole system of beliefs and values. On the day all Israeli civilians were ordered to leave Gush Katif, high school students from Netzer Hazani held their final basketball game, which would decide the tournament. “Apparently someone above intended it to be that way,” a Gush Katif resident in the movie said. “There are still many people who won’t allow themselves to feel sympathy for the families of Gush Katif,” Avi Abelow, the film’s producer added that the film’s aim was to “put aside political views, and to start to understand who these people are.” (Israel, 83 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 5:00 p.m.
ENRAGED by Eyal Eithcowich. “Enraged” follows a group of Jewish-Israeli activists who refuse to sit back while the occupation continues. They bring food into Palestinian villages under curfew, tear down parts of the separation barrier, and serve as human shields for Palestinian demonstrators. In Israel they are ostracized; in Palestine they endure a similar fate to that of the Palestinians—they are beaten, sprayed with tear-gas, and shot at with rubber-coated bullets. One such bullet hits one of the film’s main characters, a 16 year old boy from Tel Aviv, in the head, permanently impairing his eyesight. The heroes of “Enraged” jolt viewers out of their passivity, forcing them to ask: what can I do to end the occupation? (Israel/Palestine, 58 mins.)

Sunday. August 3 @ 5:00 p.m.
TO DIE IN JERUSALEM by Hilla Medalia. Ever since 17-year-old Rachel Levy, an Israeli, was killed four years ago in Jerusalem by a Palestinian suicide bomber, her mother Abigail has found hardly a moment’s peace. Levy’s killer was Ayat al-Akhras, also 17, a schoolgirl from a Palestinian refugee camp several miles away. The two young women looked unbelievably alike. TO DIE IN JERUSALEM unabashedly explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the personal loss of two families. The film’s most revealing moment is in an emotionally charged meeting between the mothers of the girls, presenting the most current reflection of the conflict as seen thru their eyes. (Israel/Palestine, 76 mins.)

From JORDAN:

Saturday, August 2 @ 6:15 p.m.
QUELQUES MIETTES POUR LES OISEAUX (A FEW CRUMBS FOR BIRDS) directed by Nassim Amaouche. This is a documentary portrait of Ruwayshed, the last village in Jordan before the border with Iraq, situated in a desert of black rock. Inspired by a song by an Iraqi-Palestinian band the filmmakers produce a montage of images and conversations with people working in Ruwayshed, including diesel vendors and teenage girls serving in a hotel bar. The film has won awards at festivals in Montpellier and Clermont-Ferrand. (Jordan, 28 mins.) Screens with WET TILES, TRANSIT, and BE QUIET (63 mins. TRT)

Sunday, August 10 @ 8:00 p.m.
CAPTAIN ABU RAED by Amin Matalqa.
Captain Abu Raed is a universal story of friendship, inspiration and heroism set in contemporary Jordan. Abu Raed is a lonely janitor at Amman’s International Airport. Never having realized his dreams of seeing the world, he experiences it vicariously through books and brief encounters with travelers. Finding a discarded Captain’s hat in the trash at work one day, he is followed by a neighborhood boy who spots him wearing it as he walks home. The next morning he wakes up to find a group of neighborhood children at his door, believing him to be an airline pilot. And thus the friendship begins. Happy for the company and attention, he takes the children to colorful places around the world through his fictional stories and inspires them to believe in their own ambitions. Murad, an angry outsider to the group, vindictively attacks Abu Raed and the sense of hope he instills in the children. In his quest to prove that Abu Raed is a liar and a fake, Murad begins to discover new possibilities in his life. Meanwhile, Abu Raed’s friendship with Nour, a real female pilot, begins to grow as she deals with her own set of pressures from life in modern Amman. Captain Abu Raed is the story of everyday people intersecting across social boundaries. It is a story of dreams, friendship, forgiveness, and sacrifice. Winner of the AUDIENCE AWARD at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Best Director, Seattle International Film Festival, and Best Actor and Best Actress Newport Beach Film Festival. http://www.captainaburaed.com/home/ (Jordan, 102 mins.)

From LEBANON:

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
I SWAM IN THE SEA LAST WEEK directed by Nesrine Khodr. A symbolic and poetic video evoking a changing political situation through the metaphor of a female body swimming in the sea… (Lebanon, 3 mins.) Screens as part of a Lebanese Shorts Program (77 mins. TRT)

Friday, August 1 @ 9:30 p.m.
ZONE FRONTALIERE (BORDER ZONE) by Christophe Karabache. Lebanon, in the aftermath of the war of July-August 2006. A journey between Beirut and the South shows bodies going through suffocation, political crisis and uncertain chaos. Border Lines of a war…suspended. A waking up in the ruins. Sleepwalker in blood. Check point / territory / Shelter / bombs. Beirut…fragments of frontage. Division, scission, skeletons of cement, corpses cut down. A Human cry from the debris. A beautiful and poet experimental film. French experimental filmmaker Christophe Karabache should be here to present his film (pending his ability to get a visa from the U.S. government). Sponsored by the New Orleans Consulate de France. (Lebanon, 45 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 3:30 p.m.
MARATHON BEIRUT, For the Love of Lebanon by Deborah Harse. a documentary that was shot mostly in November-December 2006. A marathon in the aftermath of the war with Israel was that much more ardent a metaphor for perseverance. Despite all the political upheavel, the Beirut Marathon Association chose to carry on with the event as a testament to the resilience of the Lebanese people. But just 5 days before the race, a government minister, Pierre Gemayel, was assassinated. After much deliberation, they decided not to cancel, but to postpone the race by one week. Then, 2 days before the new marathon date, Hezbollah called for a rally in the central square. But nevertheless, the marathon took place with 24,000 people turning out in solidarity to run or walk the 5 kM, 10 kM and 42 kM races with For the Love of Lebanon as the theme. And of course, a Kenyan won. Filmmaker Deborah Harse is tentatively scheduled to attend. (Lebanon, 80 mins.)

Saturday, August 2 @ 3:30 p.m.
BEIRUT DIARIES by Mai Masri. Noted Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri presents an eye-opening documentary centered on the experiences of a young woman living in Beirut who along with hundreds of thousands of other women stage a sit-in after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. From acclaimed director Mai Masri (Frontiers of Dreams and Fears), the film explores the critical transformations and crucial questions facing Lebanon at this turning point in it’s history. (Lebanon, 80 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 2:00 p.m.
33 DAYS by Mai Masri. Filmed during the massive Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006, 33 Days chronicles the lives of four young people working in theatre, media and emergency relief. Through their creativity and commitment, the film tells untold stories that forever marked the lives of those who survived that fateful summer in Beirut. (Lebanon, 70 mins.)

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
FROM BEIRUT WITH LOVE by Wael Noureddine. One of the quiet eccentricities of Lebanese pop culture is the picture postcard. Beirut gift shops and bookshops stock them like any other tourist destination. The odd thing here is that many of the locations no longer exist. Shots of the former Martyrs’ Square (when it actually was a square). (Lebanon, 30 mins.) Screens as part of a Lebanese Shorts Program (77 mins. TRT)

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
(AS IF) BEAUTY NEVER ENDS… by Jayce Salloum. This short film commemorates the 1982 Sabra and Shatilla massacre. It is a reflection of the past, its present context and forbearance. As Abdel Majid Fadl Ali Hassan recounts a story told by the rubble of his home in Palestine, the tape permeates into an intense essay on dystopia in contemporary times. An elegiac response, working directly, viscerally, and metaphorically. (Lebanon/Palestine, 12 mins.) Screens as part of a Lebanese Shorts Program (77 mins. TRT)

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
SAVING FACE directed by Jalal Toufic. Were all the candidates’ faces posted on the walls of Lebanon during the parliamentary campaign of 2000 waiting for the results of the elections? No. As faces, they were waiting to be saved. Far better than any surgical face-lift or digital retouching, it was the physical removal of part of the poster of the face of one candidate so that the face of another candidate would partially appear under it; as well as the accretions of posters and photographs over each other that produced the most effective face-lift, and that proved a successful face-saver for all concerned. We have in these resultant recombinant posters one of the sites where Lebanese culture in specific, and Arabic culture in general, mired in an organic view of the body, in an organic body, exposes itself to inorganic bodies. (Lebanon, 8 mins.) Screens as part of a Lebanese Shorts Program (77 mins. TRT)

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
AFTER SHAVE (BEYROUTH APRES-RASAGE) by Hamy Tamba. Abou Milad is an old barber who lost his salon during the Lebanese civil war. One day he is summoned by a recluse who lives in a grand bourgeois house and his life will be changed forever. Winner of the Cesar for Best Short Film. (Lebanon, 27 mins.) Screens as part of a Lebanese Shorts Program (77 mins. TRT)

From PALESTINE:

Monday, August 4 @ 9:30 p.m.
RAFAH, CHRONICLE OF A CITY IN THE GAZA STRIP by Stéphane Marchetti & Alexis Monchovet. A close quarters portrait of the Palestinian city in the course of a year of upheavals (12 September 2005 – 12 September 2006). Rafah is located in the southern Gaza Strip. It’s a city cut in two by the Philadelphia Road, a security corridor between Sinai and Gaza. It’s destiny changed during the night of 12 September 2005, when the Israeli army withdrew from the Gaza Strip. The Israelis evacuated the Philadelphia Road and the colonies surrounding the city disappeared. A new era could begin. But Rafah would never emerge from its chaos. Rafah is the hub of arms trafficking between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Since the Israeli withdrawal, these arms have contributed to the bloody wars between families. After the Hamas victory at the legislative elections, the city sank into a major economic crisis. On 25 June, 2006, Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit was abducted by Palestinian militants using a tunnel dug from Rafah. In reprisal, Tsahal shelled the houses of arms dealers located along the Philadelphia Road. By 12 September, 2006, a year after the withdrawal, all hopes of rebirth had died. (Palestine, 52 mins.) Screens with LIGNE VERTE (Palestine, 4 mins)

Saturday, August 9 @ 6:30 p.m.
BE QUIET by Sameh Zoabi. A simple car trip beset by politically charged tension and a militarized reality brings politically charged tensions and a militarized reality to a father and his young son. (Palestine, 19 mins.) Screens with WET TILES, TRANSIT, and A FEW CRUMBS FOR THE BIRDS 63 mins. TRT)

Monday, August 4 @ 9:30 p.m.
LIGNE VERTE by Laurent Mareschal. In this acclaimed French animation, at first sight you see a wall-painting and hear sounds of building engines far away but still present. This fresco represents a kind of Mediterranean landscape. Then you slowly discover the painting and its principal characters: the cactus, the Cyprus tree and the olive tree. At the end, the camera stays still. You didn’t really pay attention, but some small stones fell on the ground at a moment; now you’ll discover that a branch of the olive tree was guilty. It grew up inside the wall. And now it’s the whole painting that turn to life. The rebels destroy the ‘security fence’ and a whole of it fell apart on the ground. You should be optimistic if the last travelling wouldn’t ruin this hope…(Palestine, 4 mins.) Screens with RAFAH CHRONICLE (Palestine, 58 mins)

Thursday, August 7 @ 9:00 p.m.
TO SEE IF I’M SMILING by Tamar Yarom. Israel is the only country in the world where 18-year-old girls are drafted for compulsory military service. In this award-winning documentary, the frank testimonials of six female Israeli soldiers stationed in Gaza and the West Bank pack a powerful emotional punch. The young women revisit their tours of duty in the occupied territories with surprising honesty and strip bare stereotypes of gender differences in the military. The former soldiers share shocking moments of negligence, flippancy, immaturity and power-tripping as they describe atrocities they witnessed and participated in. The psychological transformation that these young women underwent as a result of military service is both unsettling and riveting. The culture of war transforms people: personalities change, moral codes are subverted, values are supplanted and masks are constructed to dull the pain of what they did and didn’t do in uniform. At a time when women in the military are increasingly on the frontlines, and the actions of soldiers all over the world are being questioned, this powerful film explores the ways that gender, ethics and moral responsibility intersect during war. (Israel/Palestine, 59 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 5:30 p.m.
3 TIMES DIVORCED by Ibtisam Salh Mara’ana. How does a Palestinian woman in Israel survive an abusive husband? When Gaza-born Khitam’s abusive Arab Israeli husband divorces her and gains custody of her six children, she suddenly finds herself fighting two heart-breaking battles: against the Sharia Muslim court to get her children back, and against the state of Israel, which considers her an illegal resident and denies her protection in a shelter for battered women. 3 TIMES DIVORCED is a fascinating and disturbing look at a civil and religious legal system that denies women the right to get a divorce independent of their husbands. It highlights the bind that abused women find themselves in when their immigration status is contingent upon marriage. With remarkable access and an unflinching lens that never sensationalizes, award-winning filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara’ana captures Khitam’s astonishing courage as she faces an impossible situation with no country or court to protect her. (Palestine/Israel, 74 mins.)

Saturday, August 9 @ 6:30 p.m.
TRANSIT by Taysir Batniji. In 2004 Taysir Batniji photographed his journey to the Gaza Strip. The work Transit presents these images and reflects on the extremely difficult conditions under which Palestinians must travel. (Palestine, 8 mins.) Screens with WET TILES, BE QUIET, and A FEW CRUMBS FOR THE BIRDS 63 mins. TRT)

Saturday, August 2 @ 5:00 p.m.
ENRAGED by Eyal Eithcowich. “Enraged” follows a group of Jewish-Israeli activists who refuse to sit back while the occupation continues. They bring food into Palestinian villages under curfew, tear down parts of the separation barrier, and serve as human shields for Palestinian demonstrators. In Israel they are ostracized; in Palestine they endure a similar fate to that of the Palestinians—they are beaten, sprayed with tear-gas, and shot at with rubber-coated bullets. One such bullet hits one of the film’s main characters, a 16 year old boy from Tel Aviv, in the head, permanently impairing his eyesight. The heroes of “Enraged” jolt viewers out of their passivity, forcing them to ask: what can I do to end the occupation? (Israel/Palestine, 58 mins.)

Tuesday, August 5 @ 5:30 p.m.
ENCOUNTER POINT by Ronit Avni & Julia Bacha. 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. (Palestine, 85 mins.)

Sunday, August 3 @ 5:30 p.m.
TO DIE IN JERUSALEM by Hilla Medalia. Ever since 17-year-old Rachel Levy, an Israeli, was killed four years ago in Jerusalem by a Palestinian suicide bomber, her mother Abigail has found hardly a moment’s peace. Levy’s killer was Ayat al-Akhras, also 17, a schoolgirl from a Palestinian refugee camp several miles away. The two young women looked unbelievably alike. TO DIE IN JERUSALEM unabashedly explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the personal loss of two families. The film’s most revealing moment is in an emotionally charged meeting between the mothers of the girls, presenting the most current reflection of the conflict as seen thru their eyes. (Israel/Palestine, 76 mins.)

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
(AS IF) BEAUTY NEVER ENDS… by Jayce Salloum. This short film commemorates the 1982 Sabra and Shatilla massacre. It is a reflection of the past, its present context and forbearance. As Abdel Majid Fadl Ali Hassan recounts a story told by the rubble of his home in Palestine, the tape permeates into an intense essay on dystopia in contemporary times. An elegiac response, working directly, viscerally, and metaphorically. (Lebanon/Palestine, 12 mins.) Screens as part of a Lebanese Shorts Program (77 mins. TRT)

From SYRIA:

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
BEFORE VANISHING directed by Joude Gorani. The Barada river surrounds the capital city of Damascus. Often deemed iconic of nature’s wondrous beauty, we discover how the Barada river has suffered from exploitation, neglect, pollution and unplanned urbanization. The film also uncovers the transformation of the river’s social life and provides an intelligent measure of the distance between ideology and reality, in contemporary Syria. (Syria, 13 mins.)
Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
WE WILL LIVE TO SEE THESE THINGS by Julia Meltzer & David Thorne. A documentary video in five parts presenting competing visions of an uncertain future, WE WILL LIVE TO SEE THESE THINGS was shot in 2005 and 2006 in Damascus, Syria. Each section of the piece—the chronicle of a building in downtown Damascus; documentation of an equestrian event; an interview with a dissident intellectual; a portrait of children learning the Qur’an; the recitation of a vision beheld by a U.S. policymaker—offers a different perspective on what might come to pass in a place where people live between the forces of a repressive regime, a growing conservative Islamic presence and shifting pressures from the USA. (47 mins.)

Friday, August 8 @ 7:00 p.m.
NOT A MATTER OF IF BUT WHEN by Julia Meltzer & David Thorne. Developed with the filmmakers while living in Demascus, young Syrian performer Rami Farah uses various modes of address such as a promise, a threat, a curse, a joke and a premonition in order to speak to the current state of affairs in Syria and the Middle East. Through a combination of direct address and fantastical narrative, Rami’s improvisations speak to living in a condition of uncertainty, chaos and stasis. (Syria, 17 mins.)

From TURKEY:

Saturday, August 2 @ 7:30 p.m.
TIME AND WINDS by Reha Erdem. A small, poor village leaning over high rocky mountains, facing the immense sea, flanked by olive yards. Villagers are simple and diligent people who struggle to cope with a harsh nature. They earn their living, on a daily survival basis, out of the earth and of the few animals they feed. They live according to the rhythm of the earth, air and water, day and night and seasons. The daily time is divided into five parts by the sound of the call to prayer. Every day, all human events are lived through within these five time slices. In child raising, grownups go on with the practice they have experienced by their parents. They expose their love awkwardly and consider beating a favorable method. Fathers always prefer one of their sons. Mothers command their daughters ruthlessly. Ömer, Yakup and Yildiz, three children of about 12,13 years old, just between childhood and youth, are the prominent characters in this movie of five times. Ömer, the son of the imam, wishes hopelessly for the death of his father. When he understands that wishful thinking does not have any concrete results, he begins to search for childish ways to kill his father. He shares his guilty thoughts with his friend Yakup. Children study in the village school consisting of only one classroom. Families show their gratitude to the young woman teacher by giving her presents -the bread they cook themselves, the milk of their own sheep. Yakup is in love with his teacher. He hides his guilty feelings even from his best friend Ömer. When some day he sees his father spying the teacher, he dreams, like Yakup, of killing his father. Yildiz both studies and tries to manage the household works imposed by her own mother. She tries to be a mother for her baby brother. On the other hand, she learns with irritation about the secrets of the relationship between men and women. Five times elapse. Children, oscillating between rage and guilt, grow up slowly. (Turkey, 111 mins.)

Sunday, August 3 @ 2:00 p.m.
SARI GELIN: THE TRUE STORY by Ismail Umaç. One of the major conflicts/debates in the middle east is the question of the Turkish/Armenian Genocide. To people on both sides of the debate it is one that provokes great passion, extreme pain and ultimately affects their national identity. To some it is a question of semantics, what constitutes a massacre vs. what constitutes a genocide? Presented by the Turkish American Association of Louisiana, this documentary, produced by the Turkish government, has been filmed in over 13 different countries, and is based on over 10,000 written documents from world archives. For the documentary, interviews were made with 160 people in the country and abroad. Interviews were made with 23 academicians from Turkey and 33 academicians from foreign countries, many of them being Armenian, 14 politicians, 13 chaplains, 6 diplomats, 7 journalists, 4 artists, 2 businessmen, 2 educators, 7 non-governmental organization, chairmen and directors. By definition, a film made by a government or organization designed to achieve a political end is “propaganda”, but that never stopped you from watching Michael Moore’s film…. (Turkey, 70 mins.)

Tuesday, August 5 @ 7:00 p.m.
FRATRICIDE by Yilmaz Arslan. Semo, a Kurdish immigrant and pimp living in Germany, offers to pay for his younger brother Azad to come and join him. Reluctantly Azad accepts his brother’s offer, and makes the long journey from his poverty-stricken homeland. He moves in to an asylum for refugees where, amidst hopeless squalor he befriends Ibo, an eleven-year-old orphan, also Kurdish. A powerful and tender bond grows between the two boys, but the odds are against them. Ahmet and Zeki are young second-generation Turks. Frustrated, unemployed, alienated from their heritage and with no place in German society, their anger simmers at fever pitch. Meanwhile, they devote themselves to petty crime and their savage pit bulls. When these four doomed exiles meet, their encounter unleashes a nightmarish cycle of violence they believed they had left behind. Boasting astonishing performances from a largely non-professional cast, award-winning director Yilmaz Arslan’s third feature is an explosive tale of desperate conflict and bloody revenge, a savage, furious, heartbreaking portrait of raw humanity struggling for safety, for dignity, for survival in the face of violence, exile and the brutal indifference of a society that wants no part of them. (Turkey, 92 mins.)

Sunday, August 3 @ 3:30 p.m.
KASABA (SMALL TOWN) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Told from the perspective of two children, and in four seasons, KASABA describes relationships between members of a Turkish family in a small town. The first part is in a primary school where the family’s 11-year-old daughter is a pupil. It shows the social environment to which she has to adopt, and its difficulties. She faces with her feeling of shame and some merciless clues of life… The second part is in spring. We see the girl with her brother, who is four years younger, and their journey to the cornfield where their family are waiting for them. As they pass through the countryside, they encounter the mysteries of nature and wildlife… In the third part the brother and sister witness the complexities and darkness of the adult world… The fourth part takes place at home. This is a tranquil sequence moving between reality and dream. (Turkey, 85 mins.)

Monday, August 4 @ 7:00 p.m.
CLOUDS OF MAY by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. This May in the town seems to be warmer and gloomier than the previous years. Still, everyone seems to be happy despite their small worries and lives closed for any surprises. However, this happiness is a little disturbed by the arrival of Muzaffer who has made up his mind to shoot a film in this town where he had passed his childhood. His father, Emin, is bent on saving the small forest he cultivates on his property from confiscation by the authorities. His nephew, nine year-old Ali, must carry an egg in his pocket for 40 days without cracking it, according to terms of an agreement made with his aunt, who has promised in return to convince Ali’s father to purchase a much wanted musical watch for his son. And Muzaffer’s cousin, Saffet, who is a young town dweller whose affords are all doomed to failure by bad luck (or is it by his own rebelliousness) and who dreams of going to Istanbul. (Turkey, 130 mins.)

Sunday, August 10 @ 4:30 p.m.
DISTANT by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. A deeply compassionate and frequently amusing study of quiet desperation, prompting many critics to favorably compare writer-director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s subtly hypnotic drama to the films of Ozu and Tarkovsky. Muzaffer Özdemir and Mehmet Emin Toprak shared Best Actor honors at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for their perfectly nuanced performances as (respectively) divorced, 40-something photographer Mahmut and his distant relative Yusef, who arrives in Istanbul looking for work, and quickly wears out his welcome. Tensions mount, revealing solitude as the natural (if not preferred) state of these lonely, melancholy men. (In the context of this film, it’s tragically ironic that Toprak was killed in an auto accident, at age 28, six months before his honors at Cannes.) With understated humor, Ceylan observes Mahmut and Yusef’s chronic isolation. (Turkey. 105 mins.)

From UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

Saturday, August 9 @ 6:30 p.m.
WET TILES by Lamya Gargash. The movie is about constructing a form of a relationship between a man & a woman. Is it an arranged marriage or an intimate rendezvous? It has not been labeled as being this or that, but the main idea of a young girl forced into this relationship. The movie explores her thoughts & mental insights. (United Arab Emirates, 8 mins.) Screens with BE QUIET, TRANSIT, and A FEW CRUMBS FOR THE BIRDS 63 mins. TRT)

About the MIDDLE EAST:

Wednesday, August 6 @ 5:30 p.m.
BLOOD AND OIL by Jeremy Earp. The notion that oil motivates America’s military engagements in the Middle East is often disregarded as nonsense or mere conspiracy theory. Blood and Oil, a new documentary based on the critically-acclaimed work of Nation magazine defense correspondent Michael T. Klare, challenges this conventional wisdom to correct the historical record. The film unearths declassified documents and highlights forgotten passages in prominent presidential doctrines to show how concerns about oil have been at the core of American foreign policy for more than 60 years — rendering our contemporary energy and military policies virtually indistinguishable. In the end, Blood and Oil calls for a radical re-thinking of US energy policy, warning that unless we change direction, we stand to be drawn into one oil war after another as the global hunt for diminishing world petroleum supplies accelerates. (US/Middle East, 52 mins.)

Sunday, August 10 @ 6:30 p.m.
A JIHAD FOR LOVE by Parvez Sharma. Fourteen centuries after the revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad, Islam today is the world’s second largest and fastest growing religion. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith, discovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims. Produced by Sandi DuBowski (Trembling Before G-d) and Sharma, A Jihad for Love was filmed in 12 countries and 9 languages and comes from the heart of Islam. Looking beyond a hostile and war-torn present, it reclaims the Islamic concept of a greater Jihad, whose true meaning is akin to ‘an inner struggle’ or ‘to strive in the path of God’ – allowing its remarkable subjects to move beyond the narrow concept of Jihad as holy war. (Middle East, 81 mins.)
festival posters and flyers should be ready for volunteers to distribute this Monday after 6:00 p.m.
festival printed schedules should be out by Friday, July 25
get your festival passes today!
____________________________

Also to coincide with the Festival
Zeitgeist proudly presents

Friday, August 1 @ 10:30 p.m.
OPENING NIGHT CONCERT: THE TARIK HASSAN TRIO
Tarik Hassan is a Palestinian/American bassist, composer, and bandleader based out of New Orleans. He has performed extensively throughout the southeast and in Europe. In 2007 he returned to New Orleans and was awarded a graduate assistantship at the University of New Orleans where he is a masters of music candidate. Tarik is currently studying with bassist Roland Guerin. His trio features Mark Weliky (Guitar) and Paul Thibodeaux (Drums). $5. free with admission to Opening Night film or with a Festival Pass.

http://www.myspace.com/tarikhassan

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Thursday, August 7 @ 10:30 p.m.
A NON-FESTIVAL CONCERT: BUFFALO CLOVER (from Nashville, Tennessee) with the ROVEN CIRCUS featuring Fat Sunshine, burlesque performer Reverend Spooky, face painter Alexander Greatness, etc. Pay What You Can! 50% of all donations will be divided by the artists and to benefit Zeitgeist. http://www.buffaloclovermusic.com
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Friday, August 8 @ 10:30 p.m.
CHRIS BECKER PRESENTS “Music For Silent Films” featuring live improvised music accompanying contemporary silent films by NY and New Orleans film and video artists.

Live performers from New York include:

Chris Becker – Laptop, Kaoss Pad
Grant Curry – Electric Bass
Paul Watson – Cornet, Electronics
Lynn Wright – Electric Guitar, Electronics

All four participating musicians share rooted experiences in the South; Chris and Lynn met in New Orleans and Chris was married in New Orleans before relocating to New York. Grant Curry owns a recording studio in Southeast Louisiana. And Paul Watson is a well known player in Richmond, Virginia’s experimental music scene. $10. http://www.myspace.com/beckermusic
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Festival passes are available at Zeitgeist nightly from 6:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.
We accept cash, personal checks or credit cards.

or via mail to

Zeitgeist inc,
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70113

festival posters and flyers should be ready for volunteers to distribute this Monday after 6:00 p.m.
festival printed schedules should be out by Friday, July 25
get your festival passes today!

VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS FOR A FESTIVAL RAFFLE

to make a contribution for the raffle to benefit the festival or to volunteer please contact Rene @ 504 352-1150 or rene@zeitgeistinc.net
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In any writing or screenwriting class you quickly learn that the most important element to any good story is conflict. In the Middle East, conflict is a more abundant natural resource than even oil.

The first time festival, which was presented by Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center on January 19 through 28, 2007, without any grants or public funds, featured 43 films never screened before in New Orleans from throughout the Middle East. Curated by Rene Broussard, this remarkable program of films explored the extremely rich and complex history, politics and culture of this volatile region. Acclaimed and Award-winning new films from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey and even Yemen were shown over ten amazing nights. Then, to round things off to an even 44, the festival was immediately followed by a week-long exclusive, theatrical engagement of the award-winning documentary IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS by James Longley.

The festival was created as an off shoot of the extremely successful NEW ORLEANS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL, which Zeitgeist is presented every April.

The first festival was sponsored by the NEW ORLEANS PALESTINE SOLIDARITY, NEW ORLEANS HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION, NEW ORLEANS CHARITABLE FILM NETWORK, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: WEST BANK AND GAZA, RAMATTAN NEWS AGENCY, and WWW.ARTEEAST.ORG

Click on the maps to enlarge them.
Looking at the enlarged map of The Middle East, it is easy to notice one of the region’s biggest conflicts. No where on the map is Palestine. This conflict and others will take center stage this August @ Zeitgeist.

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ALL EVENTS FOR THE 2008 FESTIVAL WILL BE HELD AT

ZEITGEIST MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTS CENTER
1618 ORETHA CASTLE HALEY BLVD.
(across the street from Cafe Reconcile in the Saturn Screen Printing Building)
http://www.zeitgeistinc.net

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2008 FESTIVAL SPONSORSHIP:

The second annual NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL plans to be even bigger and better. We are expanding our definition of the “Middle East” to also include segments of Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. We will also be programming Middle Eastern music and performance events for after the films and working to have a variety of Middle Eastern books, CDs, DVDs and crafts along with nightly catered cuisine for sale to make the Festival all the more festive.

To help us put it all together, we need your help. Become a Festival sponsor.

You can purchase an advanced Festival pass for only $100 or $150 for a couple (includes admission to all festival events, a festival t-shirt from Saturn Screen Printing, reserved seating up to 5 minutes before showtimes and discounts on your concessions).

You or your business can sponsor a film for a donation of $200 or $250 (contact Rene for a list of films in need of sponsorship) or sponsor the festival for a donation of $500, $1000 or more.

Sponsors get free festival passes, their logo and/or name on all festival printed literature and merchandise, free festival t-shirts, reserved VIP seating up to 5 minutes before showtimes, ability to table or sell merchandise during the festival and your logo/acknowledgement on the festival trailer and website.

please contact Rene Broussard at:

Zeitgeist
Multi-disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 352-1150 cell (504) 592-3220 office (504) 827-5858 http://www.zeitgeistinc.net zte@bellsouth.net

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PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION CURRENTLY ON VIEW AT ZEITGEIST THROUGH THE END OF THE MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL:

40 to 67 / Active Stills
On view through August 10, 2008

An independent collective of Palestinian and Israeli photographers present 34 images from four Palestinian cities occupied by Israel:

Hebron, Jerusalem, Bethlehem & Gaza.

ActiveStills operates in Israel and Palestine and focuses on social and political documenting, projects production, publications and open exhibitions at topics in which the public is not exposed in its daily informative routines, managed by the established media.

For the Palestinians it is 40 Years of Occupation since the territories were occupied in 1967 and for Israel it is a victory celebration of the six day war which multiplied Israel’s area threefold and was seen as the greatest success Israel could hope for. Is it truly a victory? Who are those who still pay the price for it? As victory celebrations are held in Israel the only narrative is that of the greatness and heroism of the state, while in fact settlements continue to expand on Palestinian land whose owners have been expelled. Millions of people live in a reality of imprisonment, oppression, dispossession, humiliation and denial of basic human rights. That reality is a mirror to Israeli society, an image it refuses to see. Those are the achievements of the war.

Local http://www.activestills.org contact:
Leo Gorman (504) 616-1777 lgorman1@hotmail.com

On view 30 minutes prior to all of Zeitgeist’s nightly programming and during the day via appointment. (504) 827-5858.

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2007 Schedule:

JANUARY 19 through 28, 2007

ZEITGEIST PRESENTED THE FIRST EVER

NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EASTERN FILM FESTIVAL

In any writing or screenwriting class you quickly learn that the most important element to any good story is conflict. In the Middle East, conflict is a more abundant natural resource than even oil. This first time festival, presented by ZEITGEIST MULTI-DISCIPLINARY ARTS CENTER, without any grants or public funds, features 41 films never screened before in New Orleans from throughout the Middle East. Curated by Rene Broussard, this remarkable program of films explores the extremely rich and complex history, politics and culture of this volatile region. Then, to round things off to an even 42, the festival is immediately followed by a weeklong exclusive, theatrical engagement of the award-winning documentary IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS by James Longley.

Sponsored by and special thanks to NEW ORLEANS PALESTINE SOLIDARITY, NEW ORLEANS HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION, CHARITABLE FILM NETWORK, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: WEST BANK AND GAZA, RAMATTAN NEWS AGENCY, and WWW.ARTEEAST.ORG

Admission was $7 general / $6 students & seniors / $5 Zeitgeist members per film

Zeitgeist Patron members got in free to all films.

Day passes were available for only $10 or $12 on Saturdays or Sundays.

Festival passes were only $50 per person/$75 per couple.

featuring

LENS ON SYRIA: THIRTY YEARS OF CONTEMPORARY CINEMA
a groundbreaking exploration of Syrian cinema presented by ARTEAST, which is currently touring North America. The program showcases over 30 Syrian feature films, documentaries and shorts, many screening for the first time in the US, several of the films have been digitally remastered and subtitled in English for the series. Curated by Rasha Salti,

Debuting at New York’s prestigious Lincoln Center from May 5th-18th 2006, the series has already been scheduled to travel to The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago; The Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa; The Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver; The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; The Pacific Film Archives in Berkley (organized in collaboration with The San Francisco Arab Film Festival); The Georgetown University in Washington, DC; The Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon and Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center in New Orleans.

Often described as Arab cinema’s “best kept secret”, ArteEast’s Syrian cinema series provides an unprecedented opportunity for audiences throughout North America to discover a politically timely and relevant program, ranging from nonfiction films and comedies to political dramas and historical epics, all representative of one of the richest–albeit lesser-known–of world cinemas. Many of the original prints have been restored, digitized, and subtitled in English especially for this touring program. Films in the series are listed with an * before the date and time.

* Friday, January 19 @ 7:30 p.m. (Syria)

SACRIFICES (SUNDUQ AL-DUNYA) by Oussama Mohammad (Syria/France, 2002, 113 min, Color, DVD) A fantastic and visually captivating cinematic fable, Sacrifices reflects on how violence and power legitimize themselves, producing rituals and a vocabulary to perpetuate themselves. It portrays the life of a large family held together by the absolute power of its patriarch, the grandfather, who fertilized the land, started the family, built the house and planted a large tree around which their lives revolve. The film opens as the grandfather is dying, and the family surrounds him in anguish and uncertainty. Life begins with death, young men are born as the patriarch expires, and fathers and heroes come back from the war only to dissolve into mud. Selected at Cannes Film Festival’s “Un Certain Regard”.

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Friday, January 19 @ 9:30 p.m. (Palestine/Israel)

ATASH (THIRST) by Tawfik Abu Wael. Winner of the International Critics’ Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this beautiful and powerful debut feature from the brilliant young Arab filmmaker, Tawfik Abu Wael, is also an important groundbreaking collaboration between a Palestinian writer/director and an Israeli producer, financiers and crew – the first of its kind. Abu Shukri and his family have settled alone in a valley far from their home town. Tyrannical father Shukri, rules the home with an iron fist, forcing his wife and three children to burn fires all day to make charcoal. When he decides to build a pipeline to bring fresh water to their home, it awakens their instinct for freedom, but carries with it tragic consequences for the entire family. Featuring haunting music, stunning cinematography, and incredibly moving performances from the non-professional cast, Atash is a complex, assured and vivid first feature from an exciting filmmaker, and one to watch for the future.

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* Saturday, January 20 @ 5:00 p.m. (Syria)

BEFORE VANISHING (QABL AL-IKHTIFA’) by Joude Gorani (Syria/France, 2005, 20 min, Color, DVD) In Before Vanishing, filmmaker Joude Gorani travels from the beginning to the end of the Barada river that surrounds the capital city of Damascus. Often deemed iconic of nature’s wondrous beauty, we discover how the Barada river has suffered from exploitation, neglect, pollution and unplanned urbanization. The film also uncovers the transformation of the river’s social life and provides an intelligent measure of the distance between ideology and reality in contemporary Syria. EVERYDAY LIFE IN A SYRIAN VILLAGE (AL-HAYAT AL-YAWMIYYAH FI QARYA SURIYYAH) by Omar Amiralay. (Syria, 1974, 90 min, b&w, DVD) The first documentary to present an unabashed critique of the impact of the Syrian government’s agricultural and land reforms, Everyday Life in a Syrian Village delivers a powerful jab at the state’s conceit of redressing social and economic inequities. Interviews with farmers, health workers and a police officer contrast the peasants’ regard for the state with the mindset of state representatives toward those peasants. Sa’adallah Wannus, a prominent Syrian playwright and essayist collaborated with documentary pioneer Amiralay on the project. The film remains banned in Syria.

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* Saturday, January 20 @ 7:00 p.m. (Syria)

THEY WERE HERE (INNAHUM KANU HUNA) by Ammar el-Beik (Syria, 2002, 12 min, Color, DVD) Coming to terms with the end of the industrial era, They Were Here is an elegant and eloquently composed study that reverberates with lives lived, fading images and relics of retrospection. El-Beik makes a tightly drawn piece about public space, private contemplation and an ephemeral sensibility. THE NIGHT (AL-LEYL) by Mohammad Malas (Syria, 1992, 125 min, Color, DVD) The Night is set in the village of Quneytra, which borders on the Golan, a key battlefield in the 1967 war between Syria and Israel. We are led to the grave of the filmmakers’ father, an old Syrian fighter who joined the volunteer armies in Palestine in the Great Revolt of 1936. Trying to exorcise feelings of shame and humiliation that have long accompanied the image of his father and the village occupied by Israelis during the war of 1967, Malas tries to restore his father’s history and give him a more honorable death. But tracing the outline of a memory tortured by burning questions finds only bitter answers. The film is Malas’ second feature, often perceived as the ‘prequel’ to his first, equally visually stunning, Dreams of the City. The film earned five awards, including, The Golden Tanit at the Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage, in Tunisia in 1992, and the Silver Palm at the Valencia Film Festival, Spain, 1993.

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* Saturday, January 20 @ 9:30 p.m. (Syria)

STARS IN BROAD DAY (NUJUM AN-NAHAR), by Oussama Mohammad (Syria, 1988, 115 min, Color, DVD) A double wedding in a small village turns to high drama when one bride runs away and the other refuses to go on with her marriage. The drama unveils the fragile balance holding together a family strained by an abusive father now replaced by the successful but corrupt eldest son, a pathologically enraged second son, and the troubles of the youngest son, rendered deaf by a violent blow his father dealt him as a child. Ultimately tragic, the film is rife with biting humor and sharp political critique as it exposes how the violence of arbitrary and absolute power in a patriarchal society seeps into the unit of a family. Stars in Broad Daylight, Ousama Mohammad’s first feature, remains banned from screening in Syria because of its subversive representation and critical voice. Selected at the “Quinzaine des Réalisateurs” at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988.

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Sunday, January 21 @ 5:30 p.m. (Egypt)

NAGUIB MAHFOUZ 
THE PASSAGE OF THE CENTURY by Francka Mouloudi. In 1988, Naguib Mahfouz, “who, through works rich in nuance—now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous—has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind,” was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the first and is still the only Arab Nobel Laureate for Literature. At the end of the 20th century Mahfouz granted filmmaker Francka Mouloudi rare access to make this revealing documentary with and about him. At the age of 88, half-blind, hard of hearing, and crippled by a recent assassination attempt, Mahfouz is remarkably lively, witty and lucid. Author of the acclaimed Cairo Trilogy, The Harafish, Arabian Nights and Days and many other novels and collections of short stories, Mahfouz weaves the threads of his life together with his view of society, his childhood, his discovery of literature (Egyptian and Western), the city of Cairo (which he left only three times in his life), Islamic fundamentalism, the evolution of Egypt, the role of women, and the future of civilization.

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Sunday, January 21 @ 6:30 p.m. (Egypt)

FOR THOSE WHO SAIL TO HEAVEN by Elizabeth Wickett. At the climax of the annual Opet festival in ancient Luxor, the barques of ancient Theban gods were pulled from Karnak to Luxor and then sailed back on the “waters of inundation.” Today, the descendants of Luxor’s patron saint, Sheikh Sidi Abu’l Hajjaj, continue this ancient ritual. In For Those Who Sail To Heaven, the families which pull the sheikh’s boat describe the many Sufi rites captured in the film, including “zikr,” the whirling to flutes and drums to achieve the ecstatic state called “malbus,” and “mirmah,” equestrian games which rekindle the spirit of battles fought long ago. In their eyes, these rites constitute an ancient legacy which they are bound to preserve. Through them, this acclaimed documentary provides a glimpse of a unique living history.

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Sunday, January 21 @ 7:30 p.m. (Lebanon)

ZOZO by Josef Fares. Set in Beirut, Zozo is just on the cusp of adolescence and his home and life are teetering on the brink of destruction. Far too young to deal with the Lebanese civil war that is raging outside his door, he does what any smart boy facing his reality would – he runs. Left orphaned, hungry and adrift by shells and gunfire, Zozo sets off to the only other place he knows – Sweden, where his paternal grandparents emigrated years before. He has never visited the country, but Zozo has strong images in his mind of the lush, green and peaceful Eden it must be, and these dreams draw him there on a remarkable journey. Yet it is the life he finds after he is finally reunited with his grandparents that provides his greatest challenges. Despite the obvious barriers of culture and language which, like most immigrant children, Zozo conquers rapidly and joyfully, it is the burden of his memories and the primal hunger for security that haunt him at every turn. His grandparents are “old school” and feel the best way to deal with loss is to deny it. The other schoolchildren cannot possibly have any sense of what he has been through and, in a sad irony, he finds himself at the receiving end of more senseless aggression from a sadistic schoolyard bully. How Zozo manages to reconcile his past with the hope of a brighter future is a riveting story, beautifully composed by filmmaker Josef Fares. Winner of both the Adult and Children’s Jury Prizes at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.

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Monday, January 22 @ 7:30 p.m. (Iran)

INSIDE OUT by Zohreh Shayesteh. Maria is a middle-aged single woman with three children. Saman is a newly married young man. Arash is an eighteen-year-old high-school dropout. The one thing they have in common is that all three are transsexuals living in the Islamic Republic of Iran. INSIDE OUT features intimate conversations with Maria (a male-to-female transsexual), Saman (female-to-male) and Arash (female-to-male), allowing them to tell their stories, including the lifelong struggle to come to terms with their gender dysphoria, how this mind/body conflict has affected their everyday behavior, and the impact of hormone therapy and sex-change surgery on their lives. The film also includes revealing interviews with a Muslim cleric, who explains that the majority of Iran’s religious leaders consider transsexuality to be a human rights issue and therefore support gender reassignment surgery; a psychiatrist, who explains the difference between homosexuality and transsexuality and how the condition cannot be cured psychologically; and a surgeon, who discusses the nature and the difficulties of the required surgery. INSIDE OUT also documents daily activities of the three individuals, showing how they are coming to terms with their new identities and the related emotional and physical transformations. These difficulties clearly pale compared to their former agony. As Maria, a 44-year-old father and former truck driver, states, “Only a person who has felt this pain can understand it.” Thanks to this sensitive and insightful documentary, however, the rest of us can begin to understand the nature of this serious but still little-understood condition.

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Monday, January 22 @ 8:30 p.m. (Canada/Israel/Palestine)

ZERO DEGREES OF SEPERATION by Elle Flanders. This multi-award winning documentary examines the unique and complex relationship between two sets of lovers and two nations, less than 3 kilometres apart. Selim and Ezra, a gay Palestinian-Israeli couple, are fighting for the right to live together in Jerusalem . Edit and Samira, a lesbian Palestinian-Israeli couple, are trying to figure out how to bridge the divide between their cultures – often so close and yet so far. Through the lives of these two couples we gain a unique perspective on the Middle East conflict. Interwoven with archival footage belonging to director Elle Flanders’ grandparents, Zero Degrees of Separation takes on the larger questions of humanity, conflict and nationalist aspiration. Existing on the margins of their societies, the couples allow us a unique perspective of individuals who cross borders daily, sometimes physically, sometimes metaphorically, defying the notion of an eternal conflict with impermeable borders.

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* Tuesday, January 23 @ 7:30 p.m. (Syria)

STEP BY STEP (KHUTWA KHUTWA) by Oussama Mohammad (Syria, 1977, 25 minutes, Black and White, DVD) Each day children trudge the muddied village paths to go to school, but as Step by Step makes painfully clear, their only real escape from crushing poverty is to join the army. A frightening, captivating and insightful portrait of how the Baath regime transformed generations of peasants into citizen-soldiers and sent the poor in droves to provincial cities as migrant laborers. This short film was Mohammad’s graduation project at the VGIK film school and foretells his cinematic style and thematic obsession with the language of violence in society. A PLATE OF SARDINES (OR THE FIRST TIME I HEARD OF ISRAEL) by Omar Amiralay (Syria/France, 1997, 18 min, Color, DVD) The first time I heard of Israel, I was in Beirut, the conversation was about a plate of sardines. I was six years old, Israel was two. In the company of filmmaker Mohammad Malas, Omar Amiralay revisits the ruins of the destroyed village of Quneytra. THERE ARE MANY THINGS LEFT I WOULD LIKE TO SAY… (HUNAK ASHIYA’ KATHIRA…) by Omar Amiralay (Syria/France, 1996, 50 min, Color, DVD) A few months before the passing of his friend and close collaborator dramaturge Sa‘adallah Wannus, Amiralay listens to his friend’s somber and relentless words, a farewell to a generation for whom the Arab- Israeli conflict has been the source of all disillusion.

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* Tuesday, January 23 @ 9:30 p.m. (Syria)

JUST GET MARRIED! by Husam Chadat (Syria/Germany, 2003, 20 minutes, Color, DVD) Hilarious and heartwarming, Just Get Married! tells the story of Mr. Sharif, a Syrian living in Germany, whose student visa has finally run out. Desperate to find a way to stay in the country he has come to love, his futile attempts find him revisiting past girlfriends, responding to personal ads, and pleading with strangers. Eventually he learns that home is where you make it. VERBAL LETTERS (RASA’EL SHAFAHIYYAH), by Abdullatif Abdul-Hamid (Syria, 1991, 105 min, Color, DVD) Set in the bright orange groves of a small village in the Syrian countryside, Verbal Letters has earned Abdellatif Abdul-Hamid frequent comparisons to French author Marcel Pagnol (Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources). The film, about love friendship, loyalty and the magic of the first kiss, is loosely adapted from the story of Cyrano de Bergerac. A young man with an oversized nose is too embarrassed to approach the beautiful young woman he has fallen deeply in love with. He dispatches his most trusted friend to recite to her his love letters, but she falls for the friend. The film is an ode of tenderness and humor to childhood, coming of age, the enchantment of the first love, and the pains of learning multiplication tables.

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Wednesday, January 24 @ 7:00 p.m. (Palestine)

A RETROSPECTIVE OF FIVE SHORT DOCUMENTARIES BY PALESTINIAN FILMMAKER ABDEL SALAM SHEHADA. Based out of Ramallah, working for the Ramattan News Agency, more than anyone else, this award-winning documentary filmmaker daily chronicles the lives and events of the Gaza Strip. Featuring: DEBRIS (RADM), A Palestinian family’s land, once covered with olive trees and crops, is bulldozed by Israeli forces. But Debris is also a fantasy: of dreams to fly far away in order to touch the sky, to break free from the despair of reality. (2001); THE CANE, This documentary tackles the issue of corporal punishment of children in Arab society (2000); NEAR TO DEATH, (1997); LITTLE HANDS, a documentary that tells the story of three children—one killed, one kidnapped and one forced to walk through Israeli security to get to school. (1996); and THE RAINBOW, documents the killing, structural devastation in Rafah, caused by Israel’s “Operation Rainbow” in May 2004 and how children were directly targeted by Israeli snipers (2004).

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* Wednesday, January 21 @ 9:30 p.m. (Syria)

THE CHICKENS (AL-DAJAJ) by Omar Amiralay (Syria, 1977, 40 minutes, Black & White, DVD) Produced by Syrian television, this film too remains banned in Syria. Under the guise of documenting chicken farms, the filmmaker delivers a scathing critique of his government, and foretells the massive failure of its policies that have brought poverty and hunger to its people. FILM-ESSAI ON THE EUPHRATES DAM (MUHAWALAH ‘AN WADI AL-FURAT) by Omar Amiralay (Syria, 1970, 10 minutes, b&w, DVD) This first film by the veteran documentary filmmaker Omar Amiralay follows the construction of a dam on the Euphrates river that is supposed to bring tremendous improvement in the lives of villages around it. A FLOOD IN BAATH COUNTRY (AL-TAWFAN) by Omar Amiralay (Syria/France, 2003, 46 min, Color, DVD) In 1970, Omar Amiralay made a short documentary, Film-Essai on the Euphrates Dam, in praise of the ruling Baath party’s project to construct an impressive system of dams. Today, after fatal construction flaws have been discovered, his controversial new film explores the metaphorical implications of such weakness. Without commentary or criticism, Amiralay’s film exposes Baath party propaganda and its debilitating effects on the people of al-Mashi village, 400 kilometres (250 miles) northeast of Damascus. The camera moves slowly from students to teachers to government officials, with everyone reciting the exact same praises for the president and slogans glorifying the Baath party. The film is the harshest indictment yet of the regime, portraying the devastating effects of 35 years of rigid Baath party rule on Syrian society.

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Thursday, January 25 @ 7:30 p.m. (Iran)

BORDER CAFÉ by Kambozia Partovi. Reyhan, an Iranian widow and mother of two young children, reopens the roadhouse formerly run by her husband. But since running such a business is taboo for women, she encounters much resistance, particularly from her conservative brother-in-law, Nasser, whose only aim is to marry Reyhan despite already having one wife. Reyhan refuses this marriage proposal since she would only marry for love and not tradition nor convenience, and so Nasser seeks a way to close the roadhouse in an effort to make Reyhan dependent to him. An amorous Greek trucker named Zakariyo provides our heroine with a possible exit from this difficult situation, but ultimately the fate of Reyhan and her roadhouse, which has become quite successful under her management, is decided by a local court, and the verdict leaves Reyhan pondering her place in the world.

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Thursday, January 25 @ 9:30 p.m. (Iran)

STRAY DOGS by Marziyeh Meshkini. In Marziyeh Meshkini’s beautifully crafted and moving insight into post-Taliban Afghanistan, two children, a brother and sister, rescue a stray dog on the streets of Kabul. That evening they visit the jail where their mother is a prisoner and, since her children have nowhere to live, they are permitted to stay with her at night. But the following morning, they are thrown out: prison is for criminals, not homeless orphans. Desperate to return to the jail, brother and sister attempt a series of robberies, but each seems doomed to failure until a fugitive seems to offer an unusual solution: the movies. They can learn to steal from watching Hollywood films; alternatively, European cinema can teach them how to get caught.

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Friday, January 26 @ 7:30 p.m. (Isreal)

PAPER DOLLS by Tomer Heymann. Throughout the world, struggling people cross borders illegally to find work and make a better life for themselves: Mexicans in the US, Turks in Germany and North Africans in France. But only Israel has a population of illegal Filipinos of indeterminate gender who care for the elderly Orthodox – and for whom they often become substitute children. PAPER DOLLS follows five such men, refugees from families that reject them, who’ve made a home in Tel Aviv, Israel’s most swinging city. Fast friends, they spend their free time on stage, as the drag queen ensemble, Paper Dolls. A multiple-prize winner at the most recent Berlin Film Festival, the film takes a thoughtful, variously humorous and poignant look at people whose very lives redefine conventional notions of gender, family and love. “A tender study. The openly gay Heymann becomes, both hilariously and wistfully, part of a community that possesses in spades what’s missing in his own life – the gift of happiness and living well in unfriendly surroundings.” – Ella Taylor, Village Voice

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Friday, January 26 @ 9:30 p.m. (Israel/Palestine)

STORIES FROM THE MIDDLE EAST. Four short films, two sides of a conflict, one mutual project initiated by The World Health Organization. This film examines the effects of the current conflict on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of Palestinian and Israeli people. Specially recalling the WHO definition of health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO Constitution 1948). Featuring: THE MALL by Jonathan Ben Efrat. An abandoned shopping mall in Geha Junction is the home of hundreds of Palestinians, illegal workers who find refuge here. MISSING GAZA by Sobhi al-Zobaidi. A group of Gazans living in Ramallah are meeting for lunch in a friends’ house to talk about the people and the places in Gaza, whom they miss so much. POWER by Ayelet Bechar. In the Bedouin Village of Arab El Sawaed in the north of Israel there are homes built and roads paved by the people themselves but no basic services such as electricity or running water. JOURNEY WITH NABA’ by Hanna Musleh. The film takes us through the complexity of life in the Dheisheh refugee camp through the story of Naba, a 12-year-old boy on his way to meet his imprisoned brother.

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* Saturday, January 27 @ 5:30 p.m. (Syria)

THE WASH by Hisham el-Zouki (Syria/Norway, 2005, 8 minutes, Color, DVD) Taking the dirty laundry takes on new meanings in The Wash. Two immigrants in Norway, working as cleaners for a company entrusted to prepare the site for the visit of the U.S. president, are suddenly thrown into disarray when blood begins to drip from the U.S. flag hanging high on its mast. The Wash is crafted like a caustic allegorical fable about perceptions of the U.S., and leaves the viewer with an open-ended field of interpretation. THE POT (AL-QARURA)) by Diana el-Jeiroudi (Syria, 2004, 20 min, Color, DVD) A short unconventional documentary, The Pot creates the space for women to express themselves freely about being pregnant in the shadow of a society that still regards their bodies as a vessel to carry progeny. BLUE GREY by Mohamad el-Roumi (Syria/France, 2003, 23 minutes, Color, DVD) Filmed in northern Syria, in the region known as the upper Euphrates, the filmmaker treks the reverse trajectory that carried him as a child and his family, on the ferry crossing the Euphrates, as they migrated to the city of Aleppo. The villages he returns to, have now vanished with the construction of the artificial lake of Tishreen. With tenderness and melancholy the film bids farewell to a life right before its vanishing, it carries the sorrow of people in the moment preceding their uprooting and displacement. THE DREAM (AL-MANAM) by Mohammad Malas (Syria, 1981, 45 min, Color, DVD) Filmed in Sabra and Shatila, Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, shortly before the massacre in 1982, this documentary’s principle reference is dreams, and not lived reality. It plays on this double register, where women, children, elderly and combatants speak the reality of their everyday, transposed eerily, in dreams, nightmares and premonitions. Ultimately they converge on what the Palestinians have lost: their homeland and a life with dignity.

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Saturday, January 27 @ 7:30 p.m.

MOKARRAMEH, MEMORIES AND DREAMS by Ebrahim Mokhtari. Mokarrameh, a widow in a rural Iran, once owned a beloved cow. She had to seek grass on a long and tiring walk to feed the animal. One day her children sold the beast without telling her. Overcome by sorrow, she began to paint. Mokarrameh made her first painting (a portrait of the cow) with mud and cow dung on a rock as a means to find consolation for its death. She painted on the walls of her house, on pumpkins, on whatever surfaces she could find until one of her sons, on his monthly visit from Tehran, brought her paper and paint. From that day Mokarrameh has painted tirelessly. Now her home overflows with her colorful work, in which local life, legends and memories are vividly depicted. All of Mokarrameh’s paintings tell a story. Some tell the story of her life, the stories of other wives of her husband, or of other women in the village. Interwoven are bittersweet tales; bickering between wives about their husband-in-common, and Mokarrameh’s confrontation with her uncle about why she was sold into marriage at such a young age. Mokarrameh’s paintings represent a mingling of reality and her imagination, providing rare insight into the lives of women in Iran.

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Saturday, January 27 @ 8:30 p.m. (Turkey)

WHAT’S HUMAN ANYWAY? by Reha Erdem. Set in an urban apartment building in modern day Istanbul, where neighbors, friends and family are living in close quarters, the film focuses on male protagonists through whom the three phases of stepping into manhood in Turkish society are explored. Ali, suffering from temporary amnesia, is the main focus for the narrative twists in this circus-like environment, but there is also a little boy who refuses to be circumcised, a young man who refuses to do his military service, and a 30-year-old bed-wetter refusing to leave home.

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Sunday, January 28 @ 5:30 p.m. (Canada/Israel)

SURREAL: A GLANCE AT A LAND THAT NO LONGER EXISTS by Erez T-Yanuv Barzilay. At first glance, it seems almost normal. But look further, the villages are nearly empty, the flags are ripped, the produce rotting. This is the Gaza Strip, one month before the destruction of the Israeli villages. The 20 settlements are almost silent as they form the unlikely backdrop and the focus of a Canadian road trip. Both former Israelis, two old friends decide to take a farewell journey. What can they find there? Filmmaker Erez T-Yanuv Barzilay’s panoramic digital footage contrasts with Dror Marcus’ still photographs, just as the disbelief of the villagers still left juxtaposes with the smiles of innocent Palestinian children. Music by Canadian Ben Euerby sets the score for what is truly a strange journey. Surreal: A Glance at a Land That No Longer Exists offers us a look past the news clips, the soldiers, and the concrete barricades, with a glance at lost possibilities and living hopes. The Gaza settlements are gone – this time and place exists only on film and in memories.

______________

Sunday, January 28 @ 7:30 p.m. (Yemen)

A NEW DAY IN OLD SANA’A by Bader Ben Hirsi. 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 ever to come out of Yemen.

______________

Sunday, January 28 @ 9:30 p.m. (Palestine/Israel)

Hothouse by Shimon Dotan. Straight from it’s U.S. Premiere at Sundance where it is in competition, Hothouse is our Official Closing Night Film. Almost ten thousand Palestinians, designated by the Israeli government as “Security Prisoners,” are incarcerated in Israel today. Most Israelis consider them murderers and criminals, but most Palestinians regard them as freedom fighters. Granted rare permission to film inside the country’s highest security facilities, Israeli filmmaker Shimon Dotan shows everyday prison life, including biweekly family visits, internal elections, periodic security searches of cells, and relations between inmates and prison staff. HOTHOUSE also features interviews with many Palestinian prisoners, including those involved in suicide bombings. Although their political demands for an end to the occupation and full rights of citizenship are understandable, the bloodcurdling confessions of these proud, unrepentant and often smiling terrorists expose the moral disconnect required for such inhuman actions. HOTHOUSE also makes it clear that the Israeli criminal justice system uses imprisonment to stifle or control Palestinian democratic political life, revealing that 13 prisoners, who were not involved in terrorist or military actions, were political candidates in the 2006 Palestinian elections, which saw the rise to power of the militant Islamic party, Hamas. In this regard, the film shows how Israeli prisons have become incubators for political education and debate, which often influences Palestinian society at large. The Palestinian experience in Israeli prisons has become a national symbol in Palestine, and the prisons themselves have become virtual universities for Palestinian nationalism, shaping the prisoners’ ideology, strengthening their political convictions, and, as was the case on South Africa’s Robben Island or in the H-Blocks in Northern Ireland, enabling the development of future political leaders.

Very special thanks again to

http://www.arteeast.org

________________________________________________________________________________________

Also @ Zeitgeist, but not part of the N.O. Middle East Film Festival was…

Tuesday, January 30 – Wednesday, February 7 nightly @ 7:30 p.m.

IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS by James Longley. 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. American director James Longley spent more than two years filming in Iraq to create this stunningly photographed, poetically rendered documentary of the war-torn country as seen through the eyes of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Winner Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing awards in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival documentary competition, the film was also awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the award for Best Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival. Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature 2007.

  1. Exactly where did you actually acquire the concepts to create
    ““Middle East Film Fest Zeitgeist Multi- Disciplinary Arts
    Center”? Thanks a lot ,Alexandria

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