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New York Arab Festival Short Film Program

Sunday, May 28, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

Followed by a conversation with filmmakers Khaled Jarrar and Alia Haju, and AFMI Director of Film Programming Yasmina Tawil

New York Arab Festival (NYAF), in partnership with Arab Film and Media Institute and Museum of the Moving Image, is proud to present the 2023 edition’s film program. The program reflects the diverse voices from contemporary Arab filmmakers based in the U.S. or in the larger diaspora who create works that challenge how the region has historically been mapped, presented, and represented. The series of shorts includes new and emerging genres of local sci-fi stories, chronicles of radical love, fictionalized political history, and other experimental forms. It features radically poetic visionary films pushing boundaries into performance art and shorts that utilize futurist digital tools. Themes explored include imagined futures; love and loss; and home, place, and belonging. 

PART 1: 

Running time: 45 mins.

Before I Forget
Dir. Mariam Mekiwi. Egypt/Germany. 2018, 27 mins. This visually poetic, dystopian science-fiction film is set in an indistinct coastal region, between land and sea, above and below water, where humans learn to become amphibians, and where secrets unravel. U.S. premiere

Radio Moon
Dir. Mohamed Sadik. Egypt/USA. 2022, 13 mins. Adham, a young man struggling with the passing of a loved one, is contacted by an otherworldly presence through an old, discarded radio. Adham is forced to confront the weight of his loss, while the voice from the radio reflects on the life he had previously. The two connect over the realities of their own existences, and realize they each hold something the other desires. New York premiere

AI Confessions
Dir. Mona Gamil. Egypt/Ireland. 2023, 5 mins. Created entirely using Artificial Intelligence, this film by digital and performance artist Mona Gamil is a terrifying visual prophecy of technology’s potential impact on the mediums of film and video. The work is based around faces of people who do not exist yet are made familiar and familial through a narrative written by a machine. U.S. premiere

There will be a 10-minute intermission between Parts 1 and 2. 

PART 2: 

Running time: 40 mins.

Dir. Ahaad Alamoudy. KSA/USA. 2020, 7 mins. Hengli is a collaboration between artist Ahaad Alamoudi and artist and curator Mengna Da. It discusses notions of translation and preservation: how messages form and reform as they are passed down from generation to generation, through different objects, subjects, and environments. Shot in front of Brooklyn’s Immigration Office, the video imagines a future where human beings invent Hengli, a universal language agent that can be understood by anyone. Where all languages—English, Arabic, Chinese, etc.—are banned by the governments to ensure total transparency in their citizens’ communication. New York premiere

two thousand and thirteen
Dir. Ziad Abdel-Aal. Egypt/USA. 2023, 3 mins. A poetic time capsule from the haze of living in post-revolution Egypt. U.S. premiere

Boots and Berets
Dir. Khaled Jarrar. Palestine/USA. 2023, 6 mins. This work deals with the manufacturing of a masculine identity within the military establishment. This identity is mirrored and contrasted with the image of the rebellious, dreamy, or disobedient body. U.S. premiere

If you find me in Cairo
Dir. Randa M. Ali. Egypt/ USA. 2020, 10 mins. Two people develop a special connection at a farewell party in post-revolution Cairo.

Kingdom of Strangers
Dir. Randa M. Ali. Egypt/USA. 2022, 15 mins. On the coast of Los Angeles, Ali and Yaffa struggle to remember the Arab Mediterranean cities they have left behind. A cinematic essay in black and white, traveling through loss, love, and displacement. 

Post-Screening Panel:
After the screening, audience members are invited to participate in a conversation with filmmakers and cultural producers Khaled Jarrar, Alia Haju, and AFMI Director of Film Programming Yasmina Tawil, three distinctive voices in the Arab cinematic diaspora who experiment with film and video. The panelists will discuss their current and future works, the evolution of Arab cinema and video, and the challenges of working in the diaspora. AFMI will explain various opportunities and programs the Institute provides to support Arab and Arab American filmmakers. 

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / free for MoMI members. 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.

About New York Arab Festival (NYAF):

New York Arab Festival (NYAF) was established in 2022 to celebrate Arab American Heritage Month and fight the erasure of Arab and Arab American identities from New York City, a place that Arabs have called home for over three centuries. NYAF is a multidisciplinary festival that programs arts and culture from the Arabic-speaking region and the Arab diaspora, showcasing Arab American artists, particularly those working and living in New York City. The festival was founded by Arab, Arab American, and American artists, curators and cultural operators, namely, artistic director and curator Adham Hafez, urbanist Adam Kucharski, senior producer Cindy Sibilsky, and cultural manager Marwa Seoudi. NYAF is made possible with funds from the Howard Gilman Foundation, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and additional support from partnerships and supporters. @newyorkarabfestival


About the Panelists:

Yasmina Tawil (AFMI Director of Film Programming) is a film programmer & curator living in Brooklyn, New York. She is the Director of Film Programming at the Arab Film and Media Institute and holds a degree in Film & Television from Boston University. Yasmina’s love of film is closely tied to her passion for art and activism, and she strives to bring diversity to cinema.

The Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI) is the first organization of its kind outside the Arab world, a unique ecosystem to find, nurture, and develop Arab film and media projects. It was rebranded from the Arab Film Festival in 2017 to fulfill its broader mandate to empower local Arab talent to tell their communities’ stories in their own voices. Through film, education, mentorship, and new media, AFMI’s mission is to enhance public understanding of Arab culture and provide insight into the beauty, complexity and diversity intrinsic to the Arab world.

Alia Haju is a multidisciplinary artist, musician and filmmaker living between Beirut and Brooklyn. Born in 1986, Alia grew up in South Lebanon until 1994 when she fled, during the Israeli war on Lebanon, to the UAE and later the US. In 2005 she returned to Lebanon to complete a Bachelor in Fine Arts at AUB. Alia worked in various fields, including music, art direction, feature films, series, and documentary. She worked for Reuters (2012-2017) as a photographer and photo editor, covering the MENA region and the Syrian war, and as a freelance investigative video-journalist for multiple media organizations and advocacy groups, including The Legal Agenda, Amnesty International and UNDP. Alia’s photography and video work have been published in worldwide media outlets and featured in numerous exhibits. She is co-author in the feature-doc “Kashkash” that won multiple incredible awards, and director in short anim-doc “Ship-of-Fools” that is in post-production. She received multiple funds for her films like AFAC, Dohafilminstitute, MFG Filmförderung and a music album fund from NYFA.

Khaled Jarrar: With photographs, videos, installations, films, and performances that are focused on his native Palestine, multidisciplinary artist Khaled Jarrar explores the impact of modern-day power struggles on ordinary citizens while seeking to maximize the social potential of artistic interventions. Over the last decade, Jarrar has used the subject of Palestine, as a starting point for larger investigations of militarized societies, including the gendered spaces of violence and the links between economic and state powers that fuel and profit from war or political conflict. Jarrar’s bold, and sometimes controversial, projects often include various media and have earned him international recognition. Jarrar has be nominated for the 2018 Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung for International Cooperation, and is the recipient of the 2016 Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Award. Other projects such as his Live and Work in Palestine passport stamps and his award-winning documentary film The Infiltrators (2012), subvert the dominant narrative of an equally fought, two-sided conflict by highlighting the limited mobility of ordinary Palestinians who struggle to have access to basic things such as healthcare, education, or travel documents.