Around Town: The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture “Cultural Week in New York 2015″

AFAC Cultural Week in New York, 20-26 September 2015

The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture (AFAC), with the support of the Ford Foundation, proudly launches “AFAC Cultural Week in New York 2015″ from September 20-26. As part of the week, a series of AFAC-funded narrative films, documentaries and shorts will be screened at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the work of two leading photographers will be exhibited at Brooklyn’s Photoville festival, and AFAC grantees will present their projects at Aperture and Artists Space


The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture supports independent cultural production in the Arab region, promotes cultural exchange and encourages patronage and philanthropy for arts and culture.

View the full program of the AFAC Cultural Week

MOMA Ticket information

(All Film Screenings will be followed by a 20 minute Q&A Session)

THURSDAY | SEPT. 24, 2015

And on Different Note (24 min) Mohammad Shawky Hassan | Short Experimental | Egypt |2015
Out on the Street (71 min) Philip Rizk and Jasmina Metwaly | Documentary | Egypt |2015

The Valley (135 min), Ghassan Salhab | Feature Film | Lebanon | 2014

FRIDAY | SEPT. 25, 2015
Challat of Tunis (89 min) Kaother Ben Hania | Documentary | Tunisia | 2013

Twenty-Eight Nights and a Poem
 (105 min)  Akram Zaatari | Documentary | Lebanon | 2015

SATURDAY | SEPT. 26, 2015
Nation Estate (9 min) Larissa Sansour | Short Narrative | Palestine | 2011
The Sea is Behind
 (88 min) Hicham Lasri | Feature Film | Morocco | 2015

Silvered Water (92 min) Ossama Mohammad | Documentary | Syria | 2014

SUNDAY | SEPT. 27, 2015
Challat of Tunis 
(89 min)
Kaother Ben Hania | Documentary | Tunisia | 2013

And on Different Note (24 min) Mohammad Shawky Hassan|Short Experimental| Egypt |2015
Out on the Street (71 min) Philip Rizk and Jasmina Metwaly|Documentary| Egypt |2015

The Valley (135 min), Ghassan Salhab | Feature Film | Lebanon | 2014

MONDAY | SEPT. 28, 2015, 4:00pm

Silvered Water (92 min) Ossama Mohammad | Documentary | Syria | 2014


Nation Estate (9 min) Larissa Sansour | Short Narrative | Palestine | 2011
The Sea is Behind
 (88 min) Hicham Lasri | Feature Film | Morocco | 2015

Twenty-Eight Nights and a Poem (105 min)  Akram Zaatari | Documentary | Lebanon | 2015

Silvered Water
Ossama Mohammad|Documentary|Syria|2014
In Syria, every day, YouTubers film then die; others kill then film. In Paris, driven by my inexhaustible love for Syria, I find that I can only film the sky and edit the footage posted on YouTube. From within the tension between my estrangement in France and the revolution, an encounter happened. A young Kurdish woman from Homs began to chat with me, asking: “If your camera were here, in Homs, what would you be filming?” Silvered Water is the story of that encounter.

Out On the Street
Philip Rizk and Jasmina Metwaly|Documentary|Egypt|2015
Out on the Street is a film about a group of workers from one of Egypt’s working class neighborhoods, Helwan. In the film ten working-class men participate in an acting workshop. Through the rehearsals, stories emerge of factory injustice, police brutality, courts that fabricate criminal charges, and countless tales of corruption and exploitation by their capitalist employers. On a rooftop studio overlooking the heart of Cairo – presented as a space between fact and fiction – the participants move in and out of character as they shape the performance that engages their daily realities. Out in the Street interweaves scenes from the workshop, fictional performances, and mobile phone footage shot by a worker intended as evidence for the courts to stop the destruction of his workplace. This hybrid approach aims to engage a collective imaginary, situating the participants and spectators within a broader social struggle.

Twenty-Eight Nights and a Poem
Akram Zaatari |Documentary|Lebanon|2015
Partly a study of a photographer’s studio practice (Hashem el Madani) in the mid twentieth century and
partly an exploration of the essence of archives today, this film tries to understand how this mode of producing images functioned in the lives of communities it served, how it ceased
 to exist, and what it had led to. It is a reflection on making images, on an industry of image making, on age and on the life that remains and continues to grow in an archive.

And on a Different Note

Mohammad Shawky Hassan|Short Experimental|Egypt|2015
Today in this house nothing happens, nor does it in the homes of others. The chronology of events is obscured, subversive noise is obliterated, elucidation impossible and language futile. All that remains is a soundscape perpetually occupied by self-proclaimed patriots, and scattered spaces carved by the rhythm of everyday life, all conspiring to maintain the status quo while hiding the humming background noise of the world. And on a Different Note is a navigation of an attempt to carve out a personal space amid an inescapable sonic shield created primarily by prime time political talk shows with their indistinguishable, absurd, and at times undecipherable rhetoric/ noises. Equally repulsive and addictive, these noises travel across geographies gradually constituting an integral part of a self-created map of exile.

The Valley 
Ghassan Salhab | Feature Film | Lebanon | 2014
Following a car accident on a lone mountain road, a middle-aged man loses his memory. Drenched in blood, he continues to walk along the deserted path. Further down the road, he encounters people with engine trouble and helps them get their car running again. They are reluctant to leave him stranded, so they take him home to their large estate in the Bekaa valley, a place where production is not only agricultural, and a place he may never leave again.

Challat of Tunis 
(89 min)
Kaother Ben Hania | Documentary | Tunisia | 2013
In this eccentric, disturbing mockumentary, director Kaouther Ben Hania sets out to solve a mystery, speak truth to power and expose a culture of misogyny. Her film is inspired by a decade-old crime in Tunisia: an unknown man performed drive-by slashings of 11 women. The story springs from Hania’s attempt to portray the attacker on camera: in the course of auditions for the part, she meets Jallel, who proudly proclaims himself to be the slasher. What follows is a portrait of a preening, sexist creep and the culture of male entitlement that supports him. This includes the maker of a video game based on the slasher, with players aiming a motorcyclist through the street and gaining points for cutting unveiled females; a spurious device for determining a woman’s virginity by testing her urine; and Jallel’s purchase of a blow-up doll—the ideal partner for him.

The Sea is Behind
 (88 min)
Hicham Lasri | Feature Film | Morocco | 2015
The Sea is Behind takes place in another world, one that is black and white and grimy, following a man named Tarik who dresses as a woman and dances for weddings, an old Moroccan tradition called H’dya. The film, however, presents much more than the story of Tarik, offering a dystopian and dramatic insight into social and political realities in the Arab world. We watch the protagonist go through life with indifference, which as the story slowly unfolds, becomes disturbing.



• Exhibit: September 10-20 | PHOTOGRAPHY
Brooklyn Photoville Festival

Nathalie Naccache, “Our Limbo”
Omar Imam, “Live Love Refugee” at the Brooklyn Photoville Festival

Exhibit of works by two AFAC-Magnum Foundation Grantees at the Brooklyn Photoville Festival, in collaboration with the Magnum Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund

• Book Launch: September 22 | LITERARY PROJECTS
“Azrael’s Suicide” by Arthur Yak

Book launch of “Azrael’s Suicide”, accompanied by reading and discussion with Sudanese novelist, Arthur Yak.


About AFAC

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) is the Arab region’s preferred resource for independent artists and cultural practitioners. Founded in 2007, AFAC is a unique grant-making institution that is accessible, transparent and professional. AFAC supports as broad and diversified a scope of critical thinkers, artists and social entrepreneurs of the Arab region as possible, with an emphasis on quality, creativity and relevance.


About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Through its office in Cairo, the foundation has been on the ground in the Middle East and North Africa since the early 1950s. The foundation’s support to arts and culture in the Arab region has enhanced the development of a new generation of 21st-century arts spaces and arts leadership that reflect the cultural richness and diversity of the region.

Armenian Activists Now 2! March to Democracy

ARMENIAN ACTIVISTS NOW 2! by Robert Davidian

Documentary | USA | 2014 |71 min | English with Armenian subtitles

Screening followed by discussion with filmmaker

Following Armenia’s 2013 presidential election, civic activism and political involvement increased more than ever before. In this film, we hear directly from citizen activists who rose to expose massive, systemic election fraud. We encounter ideas and plans to build a new government as Armenians continue their march to democracy. This film transports viewers to a time and place in recent Armenian history where leaders, citizen activists and everyday people from all walks of life — in the streets, cafes, polling stations, and public spaces – and in cities and towns across Armenia, discuss and contemplate the future of their country’s political and social landscape.

To watch the trailer,click here.

Robert Davidian is an Armenian American documentary filmmaker specializing in human rights. In 2012, he completed Armenian Activists NOW! Birth of a Movement. The same year, he produced four short documentaries with the Tufenkian Foundation: Domestic Violence in Armenia produced for The Women’s Support Center; Mining in Armenia; Army in Reality; and This City Belongs To Us. In 2014, he produced Armenian Activists NOW 2! March to Democracy about presidential election fraud. His work also includes shows, news features, EPKs, promotional and educational videos for networks from MTV and Discovery to the Oxygen Network and BBC, and corporations such as Toyota, Deloite, Sony and Nike.

Danielle Zach is Acting Director of Human Rights Studies at The City College of New York, CUNY and Frances S. Patai Postdoctoral Fellow in Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies at The City College Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the Center for Worker Education. She is a Senior Editorial Associate and Research Fellow at The CUNY Graduate Center’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, and Visiting Scholar of Irish Studies at New York University. Her research interests span civil wars and violence, social movements, immigration, and transnationalism, and human rights and global governance. She is co-author Burden-sharing Multilevel Governance: A Study of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (OEF, 2013) and is currently working on a manuscript on diaspora-insurgent transnationalism.

Docu Screening: THE WANTED 18 by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan

Presented with Center for Palestine Studies and Columbia School of the Arts

THE WANTED 18 by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan

Documentary | Canada, France, Palestine | 2014 | 75 min | Arabic, English and Hebrew with subtitles

See official trailer.

Screening followed by a conversation with Amer Shomali, co-director, and Dr. James Schamus, Professor of Professional Practice at the Columbia School of the Arts.

Free and open to the public

Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, The Wanted 18 recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared “a threat to the national security of the state of Israel.” In response to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, a group of people from the town of Beit Sahour decide to buy 18 cows and to establish an independent dairy industry during the First Intifada. Their venture is so successful that the collective farm becomes a landmark, and the cows local celebrities – until the Israeli army takes note and declares that the farm is an illegal security threat. Consequently, the dairy is forced to go underground, the cows continuing to produce their “Intfida milk” with the Israeli army in relentless pursuit. Recreating the story of the “wanted 18″ from the perspectives of the Beit Sahour activists, Israeli military officialls and the cows, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali and veteran Canadian director Paul Cowan create an enchanting, inspirational tribute to the ingenuity and power of grassroots activism.

The Wanted 18 premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It was awarded Best Documentary at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the 2014 Carthage Film Festival in Tunis and the 2015 Traverse City Film Festival.


Amer Shomali uses fine art, digital media and technology as sociopolitical tools for change. After studying at the Van Art School in Canada, he completed an MFA in Animation at Bournemouth, United Kingdom. One of the founders of Zan Studios in Ramallah, Amer works as an animator and illustrator of children’s books, posters, and multimedia productions. His work has been exhibited in galleries across the Middle East and Europe.

Paul Cowan is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker who has spent the bulk of his career with the Film Board of Canada. His strength is creative documentaries that combine documentary techniques with evocative images and recreations. Cowan was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature for Going the Distance, a documentary about the 1978 Commonwealth Games. He directed the controversial docudrama The Kid Who Couldn’t Miss and served as cinematographer on the Oscar-winning Flamenco at 5:15. He is the winner of the Genie Award for his documentary Westray, on the Westray mining disaster.

Professor James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm) and producer (Brokeback Mountain), and former CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company. He is the author of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Gertrud: The Moving Word, published by the University of Washington Press and is currently working on another book, My Wife is a Terrorist: Lessons in Storytelling from the Department of Homeland Security, for Harvard University Press. He recently directed the short documentary That Film About Money and is making his feature directorial debut with his adaptation of Philip Roth’s Indignation. He earned his BA, MA and PhD. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Dream of Shahrazad with Human Rights Watch Film Festival

3rd i NY Co-Presentation at the HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FILM FESTIVAL

THE DREAM OF SHAHRAZAD by Francois Verster

Documentary | South Africa/Egypt/Jordan/France/The Netherlands | 2014 | 107 min |English, Arabic and Turkish with English subtitles

Screening followed by discussion with filmmaker Francois Verster

Filmmaker Francois Verster explores how music and storytelling can serve as an outlet for citizens to process political upheaval. Using the metaphor of Shahrazad–the princess in the classic tale of The 1001 (Arabian) Nights who saves lives by telling stories to the murderous Sultan Shahriyar–and filmed before, during, and after the so-called Arab Spring, the film weaves together a web of music, politics, and storytelling to explore the ways in which creativity and politics coincide in response to oppression.

A series of unforgettable characters all draw their inspiration from The 1001 (Arabian) Nights, including a conductor who uses Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade suite as a tool for Istanbul political education, a young female Lebanese internet activist, a visual artist who finds his own “dream of Shahrazad”, and a Cairo theater troupe who turn the testimonies of mothers of the Egyptian revolution martyrs into storytelling performances. This richly kaleidoscopic film is at once observational documentary, concert film, political meditation, and visual translation of an ever-popular symphonic and literary classic.

Trailer and Tickets: Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Dream of Shahrazad Website


Filmmakers’s Bio
Director, Producer, Camera, Editor

Francois Verster is a multiple-award winning independent documentary filmmaker based in Cape Town, South Africa. His films generally follow “creative” observational approaches to social issues and have all won local and international awards and been broadcast around the world. He has taught documentary directing and film studies and his films have been used in various seminars on the intersection between creative documentary and social activism.


About Human Rights Watch (HRW) & the HRW Film Festival

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. We work tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep rooted change and fight to bring greater justice and security to people around the world. Through our Human Rights Watch Film Festival we bear witness to human rights violations and create a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. The film festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people.

The HRW Film Festival currently screens in over 20 cities around the world throughout the year. The festival’s programming committee operates out of the New York office to screen more than 500 films each year. Through a rigorous vetting process, that includes review by Human Rights Watch’s programmatic staff, the festival chooses approximately 40 films each year to participate in our various festivals. It is then up to the particular city and its programming committee to choose films from this final selection for their specific festival.

In selecting films for the festival, Human Rights Watch concentrates equally on artistic merit and human rights content. The festival encourages filmmakers around the world to address human rights subject matter in their work and presents films from both new and established international filmmakers. Though the festival rules out films that contain unacceptable inaccuracies of fact, we do not bar any films on the basis of a particular point of view.

Oscar-Nominated Bangladeshi Feature Film “Television” by Mostafa Sarwar Farooki

Alwan and 3rd i NY Present Award-Winning, Oscar-Nominated Feature Bangladeshi Comedy Drama Film 

Bangladesh | 2012 | 106 minutes
Bengali with English subtitles

Director: Mostofa Sarwar Farooki
Producer: Mostofa Sarwar Farooki
Scriptwriter: Anisul Hoque, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki
Cinematographer: Golam Maola Nabir
Editor: Rajon Khaled
 Ayub Baccu

 Chanchal Chowdhury, Mosharrof Karim, Nusrat Imrose Tisha, Shahir Kazi Huda

As a leader of the local community, Chairman Amin bans every kind of image in his water-locked village in rural Bangladesh since he considers it to be un-Islamic. He even goes on to claim that imagination is also sinful since it gives one the license to infiltrate into any prohibited territory. But change is a desperate wind that is difficult to resist by shutting the window. The tension between this traditional window and modern wind grows to such an extent that it starts to leave a ripple effect on the lives of a group of typically colorful, eccentric, and emotional people living in that village. But at the very end of the film, Television, which he hated so much, comes to the rescue and helps Chairman Amin reach a transcendental state where he and his God are unified. A new twist to the story makes him embrace IMAGE and IMAGINATION.

Official Trailer


“Television’s theme of generational conflict and the friction between tradition and modernity play out against a refreshingly “normal” view of Bangladesh that doesn’t rely on crushing poverty, draconian customs and a post-tsunami wasteland. Golam Maola Nabir’s bright, colorful cinematography and geometric compositions that compartmentalize the characters efficiently creates an optimistic and relatable tone that makes the film’s comic moments more satiric than if they had been shot in the drab style more recognizable from the region’s cinema.”

- Elizabeth Kerry, The Hollywood Reporter

Festivals & Awards

Closing film; Busan International Film Festival 2012 (World Premiere). Nominated; Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography, Asia Pacific Screen Awards (2013). Nominated; Lino Brocka Grand Prize, Cinemanila International Film Festival (2012). Nominated; Bangladesh’s entry for the 86th Academy Award Foreign Language Category (2014). Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Asia Pacific Screen Awards (2013). Winner, City of Rome Award for Best Asian Feature Film (Jury), Best Feature Film and Audience Award from Asiatica Film Festival (2013). Winner, Golden Hanuman Award, Jogja Asian Film Festival (2013). Winner, NETPAC Award Kolkata International Film Festival (2013). Winner, Special Mention Award, Muhr Asia and Africa Category, Dubai International Film Festival (2012).

Director’s Biography

Mostofa Sarwar Farooki could be the next South-east Asian filmmaker to break out”, The Hollywood Reporter wrote in the review of his film “Television”. Variety’s Jay Weissberg wrote: “Mostofa Sarwar Farooki is a key exemplar of Bangladeshi new wave cinema movement.”

Farooki is a contemporary Bangladeshi film director and screenwriter. He is also the pioneer of an avant-garde filmmakers’ movement called Chabial. His fourth feature Television was the closing film at Busan International Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize in Asia Pacific Screen Award 2013 in addition to 5 more international awards from Dubai, Jogja-Indonesia, Asiatica Film Festival in Roma, and Kolkata. Ant Story is his fifth feature which got nominated for Golden Goblet Awards and Muhr Asia-Africa Awards. It is also in competition for nomination for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2014.

Director’s Filmography
Ant Story; Feature Fiction, 2013
Television; Feature Fiction, 2012
Ok Cut; Short Fiction; 2010
Third Person Singular Number; Feature Fiction, 2009
Bachelor; Feature Fiction, 2003
Made in Bangladesh; Feature Fiction, 2007

3rd i NY is proud to co-sponsor this SAWCC event: “In Focus: An Afternoon of Film and Video”

Join SAWCC for an afternoon of sessions focusing on current film and video practices of South Asian women artists. We begin with spotlighting acclaimed filmmaker Shalini Kantayya

 in conversation with NYU professor, Tejaswini Ganti on the subject of fact vs. fiction in film, followed by a screening of short experimental videos by 10 international artists.

Shalini Kantayya and Tejaswini Ganti

Where do the lines between fact and fiction blur and what are the ethics of representing the truth? Filmmaker and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya will present her work, ranging from science fiction to documentary film. Shalini will then be joined by NYU professor, Tejaswini Ganti, in a discussion on fact vs. fiction in filmmaking and storytelling. Join us for a conversation that explores these central questions in crafting and representing stories through film.

Patterns of Interaction
A screening of short experimental videos, followed by a Q & A and reception.

“Patterns of Interaction” constructs an interplay between short experimental videos by 10 international artists. The videos address a range of subjects including capitalism, war, mortality, cultural and corporeal memory, and various perceptual and spatiotemporal experiments. The artists utilize abstract, non-linear and/or repetitive structures and motifs to construct vivid forms of sensory immersion for the viewer.

Videos by: Poulomi DesaiRohini DevasherJeanno Gaussi, Vandana JainNadia Khawaja

Gazelle SamizayEla ShahNegin SharifzadehShashwati TalukdarAmbika Trasi

Curated by: Shelly Bahl

This screening is co-sponsored by 3rd i NY

Shalini Kantayya finished in the top 10 out of 12,000 filmmakers on Fox’s ON THE LOT, a show by Steven Spielberg in search of Hollywood’s next great director. Her sci-fi film about the world water crisis, a DROP of LIFE, won Best Short at Palm Beach International, received a national television broadcast in the US and India, and was used as a tool to organize for water rights in 40 villages across Africa. A William D. Fulbright Scholar, Shalini has received recognition from IFP Spotlight on Documentary, Jerome Hill Centennial, NY Women in Film and Television, and Media Action Network for Asian Americans. She is a Sundance Fellow, a TED Fellow, and was a finalist for the ABC Disney | Directors Guild of America Directing Program. Her work-in-progress documentary, Catching the Sun, has received support from the Sundance Documentary Program, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Ford Foundation and anticipates release in 2015.

Tejaswini Ganti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and its Program in Culture & Media at New York University. A visual anthropologist specializing in South Asia, her research and teaching interests include Indian cinema, documentary film, anthropology of media, production cultures, visual culture, and neoliberalism. She has been conducting ethnographic research about the social world and filmmaking practices of the Hindi film industry since 1996 and is the author of Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry (Duke University Press 2012) and Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema (Routledge 2004; 2nd edition 2013).

“Dirty Wars” A Documentary by Richard Rowley

Dirty Wars (Rick Rowley, USA, 2013, 86 mins, English and Arabic with English Subtitles)

Dirty Wars is a 2013 American documentary film, which accompanies the book Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill. In this Academy Award nominated film, ivestigative journalist Jeremy Scahill chases down the hidden truth behind America’s covert wars.

Dirty Wars traces the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the most secret and elite fighting force in U.S. history, exposing operations carried out by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. No target is off-limits for the JSOC “kill list,” even if the person is a U.S. citizen.

Doors open at 6:30pm

Watch the Trailer


RICHARD ROWLEY (director, cinematographer, editor, born in 1975). Over the course of fifteen years, Richard Rowley, co-founder of Big Noise Films, has made multiple award-winning documentary features including “Fourth World War” and “This Is What Democracy Looks Like”. His shorts and news reports are also regularly featured on and commissioned by leading outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, CNN International, Democracy Now!, and PBS. Rowley is a co-founder of the Independent Media Center. Rowley has been a Pulitzer Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow.

JEREMY SCAHILL (producer, writer, born in 1974) is National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere across the globe.

Scahill is a frequent guest on a wide array of programs, appearing regularly on The Rachel Maddow Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Democracy Now! He has also appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, BBC, al Jazeera, CNN, The NewsHour, and Bill Moyers Journal. Scahill has been twice awarded the prestigious George Polk Award, in 1998 for foreign reporting and in 2008 for his book “Blackwater”.

Presented in collaboration with Alwan for the Arts which serves and engages the Middle-Eastern American communities and the broader public, by showcasing a broad range of events and artistic collaborations committed to enriching the cross-cultural encounter; and, casts a critical eye on current events and trends in arts and culture related to the Middle East and its diaspora, by building a community around the arts that encourages participation and dialogue and challenges assumptions about the Middle East.


Presented with The Center for Religion & Media at New York University


New South Asian Documentary: On and Off Screen is a symposium bringing together scholars, filmmakers, and programmers to engage in conversations about the current trends, concerns, and challenges in non-fiction media making practice in and about South Asia.

Free & Open to All

Schedule of Events*

Thursday, Sept 25:

6 pm: Welcome/Opening Remarks/Introduction – Tejaswini Ganti (Anthropology, NYU) author of Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry (Duke University Press, 2012)

6:30-8: Screening: Beyond Bollywood (55min., 2013, Dir: Ruchika Mucchala, India/USA). Bollywood churns out more movies than any other film business, and ‘making it’ is the Indian dream. This intimate documentary shows life on the industry’s fringes: from make-up artist Ojas and expat extras, to rising star Pooja Kasekar. Discussion: filmmaker Ruchika Mucchala with Arjun Appadurai (Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge NYU)

Beyond Bollywood poster

Friday, September 26th:

9:30: Welcome/Opening Remarks – Tejaswini Ganti (Anthropology, NYU)

9:45-10:30: Keynote – Nicole Wolf  (Goldsmiths, University of London), author of the forthcoming Make it Real! Documentary Politics and Feminist Thought in India and guest editor with Bhaskar Sarkar, Jan. 2012 Special Issue: India Documentary Studies: Contours of a Field in BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies (Sage)

10:45-12:30: Screening - Nirnay (56 min., 2012, Dirs: Pushpa Rawat, Anupama Srinivasan). Set in a lower-middle class neighborhood in the outskirts of Delhi and filmed over a three year period, first-time filmmaker Pushpa Rawat’s documents her personal journey as she tries to make sense of her own life and that of her women friends. DiscussionCo-director Anupama Srinivasan with Nilita Vachani (Film & TV, NYU), filmmaker (When Mother Comes Home for Christmas, Diamonds in a Vegetable Market, Eyes of Stone)

nirnay still


2-3:30: Panel: Collaboration/Empowerment - filmmakers Anupama Srinivasan (Nirnay), Sunanda Bhat (Have you Seen the Arana, Let’s Make it Right, Gold Drop), Gargi Sen (Magic Lantern Movies), and Ishita Srivastava (Breakthrough) with Nicole Wolf  (Goldsmiths, University of London). Moderator: Deborah Matzner (Wellesly College)

3:45-5:45: Screening/Presentation - A selection of work by Kannan Arunasalam, award-winning filmmaker, narrative journalist and media consultant who uses documentary, photography and multimedia forms of storytelling: The Story of One (19 mins), the story of one of the 8,000 people who  ‘disappeared’ during the war between state security forces in Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger rebels; The Diaspora Diaries: Broken (13:44 min.)portrait of an elderly, former champion high jumper in Sri Lanka; and episodes from the I Am projecta series of  66, 3 min portraits in stills and sound, collected over many years. Special Sneak preview: News from Jaffna (25 mins), airing on Al Jazeera’s Witness Sept 29th). Discussion: Kannan Arunasalam with Vasuki Nesiah (Gallatin Human Rights Initiative), legal scholar focusing on public international law.


 6-8: Screening - Have You Seen the Arana? (73 min, 2012,Dir: Sunanda Bhat, India). Set in Wayanad, part of the fragile ecosystem of the western mountain range in South India, the film takes you on a journey through a region that is witnessing drastic transformation in the name of ‘development’, exploring the effects of this rapidly changing landscape on people’s lives and livelihoods. Discussion: filmmaker Sunanda Bhat, Ritty Lukose (Gallatin, NYU). Moderator: Pegi Vail (NYU Center for Media, Culture and History)


Saturday, September 27th:

9:30am: Welcome/Opening Remarks – Tejaswini Ganti (Anthropology, NYU)

10-11:30am: Screening - Afsan’s Long Day (40 min., 2014, Dir: Naeem Mohaiemen, Bangladesh/USA). Mohaiemen’s work explores radical politics of the 1970s. This new essay film, a follow-up to his United Red Army (The Young Man Was, Part 1), looks at the dissolution of the Left and makes connections between German radicalism and Bangladeshi activist politics. Discussion: filmmaker Naeem MohaiemenAshish Chaddha (University of Rhode Island)

11:30-1pm: Roundtable: Censorship -  filmmakers Naeem Mohaiemen, Kannan Arunasalam, and Kesang Tseten. Moderator: Tilottama Karlekar (Media, Culture and Communication, NYU)

2:30-4:15: Roundtable: The Political Economy of Documentary Filmmaking - filmmakers Ruchika Mucchala (Beyond Bollywood, The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar) with Gargi Sen (Magic Lantern Movies), Deborah Matzner (Anthropology, Wellesley College), and Ashish Chaddha (University of Rhode Island). Moderator: Tejaswini Ganti (Anthropology, NYU)

4:30-6:30: Screening - Who Will Be a Gurkha? (75 min., 2012, Dir: Kesang Tseten, Nepal). Gurkhas, famous for wielding a curved khukuri knife, have been fighting for Britain for 200 years. Today, Nepalis continue to be lured to the British Army as paid Gurkhas, undergoing grueling tests to win the very few positions available. The selection process presents an elaborate modern-day ritual born in the days of Empire. Discussion:  filmmaker Kesang Tseten (Who Will Be a Gurkha? We Homes Chaps, We Corner People, On the road with the red god: Machhendranath) with Luna Ranjit, Co-founder and Executive Director, Adhikaar, a NY based non-profit working with the Nepali community to promote human rights and social justice. Moderator: Pegi Vail (NYU Center for Media, Culture and History)


Co-Sponsors: South Asia@NYU, Marron Institute, Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Visual Arts Initiative, Bobst Library, Gallatin Human Rights Program, Of Many Institute For Multifaith Leadership, The Center On Violence And Recovery, Asian/Pacific/American Studies, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute

*Subject to change, please check back



Celebration of Yemen: The Scream & Sheffield Steel, Yemeni Dreams

Doors open at 6:30pm

3rd i NY Join Alwan for the Arts in celebrating and appreciating the unique and diverse arts and culture of Yemen in a special series that will span over two weeks and will include film screenings with discussions, a book launch on The Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba, and a concert by the astounding Yemeni-musician Abdulrahman al-Akhfash. For full series schedule visit:


The Scream
Khadija al-Salami, Yemen, 2012, 84 min

Yemen’s first female filmmaker looks at the role of women in Yemen’s 2011 uprising, and examines the aftermath of their participation: they hoped for democracy, but what did they ultimately achieve? And more importantly, what are they left with?


Sheffield Steel, Yemeni Dreams

Sheffield Steel, Yemeni Dreams
Emma Vickers & Cathy Soreny, UK, 34 min
This short film tells the story of a generation of men, now entering old age, who migrated from colonial South Yemen to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s to work in Sheffield’s burgeoning steel industry. These men and their families laid the foundations for one of the UK’s strongest immigrant communities.

3rdi NY Film Programming is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts, and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, both in partnership with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Alwan for the Arts hosts our monthly screenings series. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor
Alwan’s programs are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council.

My Love Awaits Me By The Sea


My Love Awaits Me By The Sea
Mais Darwazah, Jordan/Germany/Palestine/Qatar, 2013, 80 mins
(Arabic with English subtitles)

My Love Awaits Me By The Sea is a poetic documentary narrating the story of the director who takes a first time journey back to her homeland, Palestine. She leaves a secluded reality and follows a lover whom she has never met, Hasan, a Palestinian artist who discovers a beautiful and utopian world. Fairytale and reality are woven together to ask the question about the elusive place, and the need to believe in dreams.

Doors open at 6:30pm



Ismalilia Film Festival (Egypt): Jury Prize for Best Feature Length Documentary

New Directors New Films Festival (Portugal): ‫- Golden Linx Award for Best Feature Documentary
MedFilm Festival (Rome): Best Documentary in the International Section
Femina: Festival Internacional de Cinema Feminino (Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil): Grand Prize in the International Section

Biography: Mais Darwaza

Mais Darwazah

Having worked across the Middle East in architecture, graphic design and television documentaries, Mais Darwazah’s independent film career started by making short experimental films. After finishing her undergraduate degree in Interior Architecture from Kingston University (UK, 1997), she received the Chevening scholarship from the British Council, completing an MA in Documentary Directing at Edinburgh College of Art (UK, 2007). Her first feature My Love Awaits Me by the Sea (80’, 2013) had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and has since received several awards from international film festivals. She resides and works in Jordan.

3rdi NY Film Programming is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts, and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, both in partnership with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Alwan for the Arts hosts our monthly screenings series. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor

Alwan’s programs are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council.