Two American filmmakers/artists talk about the challenges and rewards of making films about women living their daily lives in Cairo and Damascus. Each of the films, made in very different styles, chronicle a period right before Egypt and Syria were gripped by revolutionary turmoil. Short clips from each film will be shown in advance of the discussion. The participants include artist Judith Barry on Cairo Stories (Egypt) (info-duration) and director Julia Meltzer on The Light in Her Eyes (Syria, Info-duration, co-directed with Laura Nix), with moderator Sarah Gualtieri, author of Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at USC. Seating is limited, tickets are $15, $10 students/members. Watch The Light in Her Eyes trailer here.
Jonathan Demme, Les Filmes Du Nouveau Monde and the Levantine Cultural Center's New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema series present a special screening of Nabil Ayouch's HORSES OF GOD in advance of the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Members and Levantine supporters are invited to attend at Raleigh Studios, Chaplin Theatre.
HORSES OF GOD, a film by Nabil Ayouch, is inspired by the novel The Stars of Sidi Moumen by Mahi Binebine. It is Morocco's official entry for the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Nabil Ayouch is among Morocco's top contemporary filmmakers. Read more in Variety.
We are raising funds for our project "Heroes of the Middle East & North Africa." This initiative proposes to create a large mural depicting cultural icons such as Rumi, Khalil Gibran, Fairuz, Naguib Mahfouz and other poets, writers, filmmakers, musicians and artists who are symbols of peace through the arts.
The "Heroes" mural is an educational experience and an anti-war statement that intends to humanize the Middle East and North Africa, following on the heels of the Arab Spring. The mural will be completed early in 2014 and will grace the wall of the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
The AFI Fest 2013 presented by Audi and the Levantine Cultural Center offer two special screenings of Hany Abu-Abbad's latest feature, after The Courier and Paradise Now. (Sun., 4 pm, Nov. 10; Mon, 10 pm, Nov. 11 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.) Omar is not afraid to climb over the Israeli walls in Palestine using surreptitious rope ladders; having sniper fire whiz past his head is a part of daily life for Omar and his best friend, Tarek. Ironically, the most dangerous thing in Omar's life is the fact that he's in love with Nadia, Tarek's sister.
When military intelligence investigates the death of a checkpoint patrolman, they realize that Omar's relationship can be used to leverage information. From this tale of hidden love comes an intense portrait of life in the West Bank. Director Hany Abu-Assad throws these characters into a world of dangerous loyalties and betrayals where something as simple as young love can be exploited. OMAR is a drama that reveals Assad's compassionate view of life, empathizing deeply with human beings trapped in circumstances beyond their control.
The 17th Annual Arab Film Festival (AFF) opens in Los Angeles on October 18, 2013 at the Harmony Gold Theatre with When Monaliza Smiled as the spotlight film. The festival also features Detroit Unleaded, Casablana Mon Amour, Mars at Sunrise and They Were Promised the Sea, among ten additional titles.
The Arab Film Festival is the largest independent annual showcase of Arab films and filmmakers in the country. The festival has an international standing and is considered one of the most important Arab film festivals outside the Arab world. It strives to present the best contemporary films that provide insight into the beauty, complexity and diversity of the Arab world alongside realistic perspectives on Arab people, culture, art, history and politics.
The Arab Film Festival presents a documentary that explores the stories of the Arab Jews of Morocco. With They Were Promised the Sea, filmmaker Kathy Wazana set out to discover why hundreds of thousands of Jews left Morocco in the 1960s, believing their Arab homeland had become enemy territory. What she found was a country still grieving the loss of its Jewish population. Her "enemy" welcomed her home and claimed her as one of their own.
They Were Promised the Sea is an intimate journey shot in Morocco, Israel-Palestine, and New York. Kathy's research into her family origins in Morocco unleashed a complex web of questions about dual identity, political opportunism, and the challenges faced by those torn between Homeland and Promised Land.
A Celebration of Palestinian Culture presents matinee (11:30 am VIP brunch and 1:30 pm dance performance) by the Bethlehem-based dance company, Keywords:
A Celebration of Palestinian Culture presents matinee (2:30-5:30 pm) and evening (6:30-10:30 pm) performances by the Bethlehem-based dance company, Diyar Dance Theatre, in its Southern California debut, offering a colorful fusion of traditional debke, ballet and theatrical dance moves. And the Lyd/Lod-based hip hop trio DAM, now the hottest group of rappers in the Middle East, makes a special return engagement (9:30 pm), with film screenings and conversation (3:30-5:30 pm). A reception for the evening, 6:30, all taking place at the Harmony Gold Theatre, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90046. The Diyar Dance Theatre includes up to 40 talented, enthusiastic and committed dancers, both male and female of different age groups and backgrounds; DAM is a household name in the Middle East.
Film Schedule: 3:30 pm, The Stones Cry Out, dir. Yasmine Perni ('55). 4:39 pm, It's Better to Jump (80'), dir. Patrick Stewart, Mouna Stewart, Gina M. Angelone. (More below.)
A Celebration of Palestinian Culture presents an evening devoted to Palestinian women in film. Yasmine Perni's The Stones Cry Out tells the story of Palestinian Christians, while Mahasen Nasser-Eldin's documentary, Restored Pictures, explores the life of one of historic Palestine's first female photographers. Following the screenings, a panel will discuss filmmaking and what the playing field currently looks like, on both sides of the Green Line, for Arab women filmmakers.
In Restored Pictures we travel in this documentary between Bethlehem, Haifa and Nazareth to explore the life of Karimeh Abbud—the first female photographer in pre-1948 Palestine. Born in Bethlehem in 1894, Karimeh rapidly rose to prominence in a traditionally male-dominated profession after receiving her first camera as a teenager. Her photos are important historical records of life in Palestine in the early 1900s. Following the screening, director Mahasen Nasser-Eldin appears live in conversation with Yasmine Perni at the Harmony Gold Theatre.
With The Stones Cry Out we begin to understand that all too often media coverage of the conflict in Palestine has framed it as a fight between Muslims and Jews, largely ignoring the fact that Palestine was the birthplace of Christianity, that Palestinians are both Muslims and Christians, and that Palestinian Christians have played a critical role in their land's history and the struggle to maintain its identity.
A Celebration of Palestinian Culture presents a directors' screening of Under the Same Sun, a new feature from Sameh Zoabi that imagines what might happen if a Palestinian businessman (Ali Suliman) were to join forces with an Israeli entrepreneur (Yossi Marshak) to build a new solar energy firm serving the needs of Palestinians in the West Bank.
This film is a production of Search for Common Ground, which seeks to transform the way the world deals with conflict—way from adversarial approaches and towards collaborative problem solving. Following the screening, director Sameh Zoabi appears live in conversation at the Harmony Gold Theatre.