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MENASA Pride Month Shorts Showcase

Saturday, Jun 24, 2023 at 2:30 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

Co-Presented with Brown Girls Doc Mafia and Slamdance

From the beginning, our Infinite Beauty series has featured films that depict queer MENASA people, from BGDM member Rita Baghdadi’s Sirens to Breaking Fast by Mike Mosallam, a romcom set during Ramadan in Los Angeles. This pride month, we collaborate with BGDM and Slamdance to present an all-queer Muslim documentary extravaganza, centering the work of BGDM members. These nonfiction films run the gamut—from animated reflections of the past to dreams of imagined futures, from a close reading of archival subtext to find ourselves in the historical record to recreations of intimate family moments to understand the present. They reflect the beautiful kaleidoscope of queer MENASA, asserting our existence, connection, and joy. Total running time approx. 101 mins.  

The Return 
Dir. Hena Ashraf. U.S./India. 2021, 18 mins. 
After her father suddenly dies while visiting his motherland of India, Hena Ashraf reflects on a relationship strained by cultural and generational differences. This raw and inventive personal documentary combines a robust family archive with recreations, leaning on the act of creation to come to terms with a profound, if complex, loss. 

The Streets Are Ours: Two Lives Across Karachi 
Dirs. Michelle Fiordaliso. Pakistan. 2017, 16 mins. 
A friendship with Sabeen Mahmud, the inspiring founder of Karachi performance space T2F, empowered Pakistani-American artist Fawzia Mirza to perform her one-woman show across Pakistan, despite themes that sometimes pushed the envelope. The moving friendship nourished both women in the face of discrimination and judgment. Mirza explores the lasting impact that someone like Mahmud has in their community even after devastating losses.  

The Adam Basma Project  
Dir. Leila Basma. Lebanon/Czechoslovakia. 2020, 15 mins. 
As a child Leila Basma had only a few glimpses into the life of her uncle Adam, who left Lebanon when he was just a teenager to become a belly dancer and eventually settled in Los Angeles with his husband and a successful career as an artist. Basma begins to piece together an understanding of her uncle through the breadcrumbs left behind, simultaneously creating a portrait of familial love that persists across space and time. 

Scenes I Imagine 
Dir. Metin Akdemir. Turkey. 2020, 40 mins. 
In lieu of explicit representations, queer people around the globe have often learned to find themselves between the lines in cinema and literature, in romantic gestures and words unspoken yet nevertheless understood by those who need to hear them most. Scenes I Imagine explores this phenomenon in the so-called “women films” of 1980s and early ’90s Turkish cinema, shedding a light on the subversive sexual and emotional undercurrents simmering just below the safe guise of female friendship. 

Noor & Layla (pictured above)
Dir. Fawzia Mirza. Canada. 2021, 13mins. 
After the heady thrill of connection and chemistry, Noor and Layla are trying to determine their path forward—and if they will take that path together. The two women reflect on five life-changing moments in their relationship, which correspond to the five times of day that Muslims are called to prayer, providing thoughtful structure to this charming and relatable look at the hard work of falling in love. 

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / free for MoMI members at the Senior/Student level and above. Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.