Alwan 3rd i Awards: Finalists Screening & Awards Presentation

alwan 3rd i awards logo 2014
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Post Tags: awards, shorts, and video art. Categories: Screening.
Admission: $5-10 Suggested Contribution (No one is turned away!)


The Alwan 3rd i Awards Competition celebrates and rewards exceptional short films, experimental work, video art, animation, and shorter narrative form works, while aiming to increase exposure and creating opportunities for emerging media-makers.

Join us at Alwan to view the awards committee’s selection and awards presentation, followed by a post-screening discussion aimed at providing artists the benefit of feedback from an avid film audience Alwan and 3rd i NY have cultivated over the years.


130 km to Heaven by Khaled Khella
Beit Iksa Boys by Maeve Brennan
Last Ditch by Mahi Bena
The Visit by Liva Dudareva
Departures by Wissam Tanios
Aswat (Voices) by Hussain Alriffaei


Khalid’s Camel by Brian Zegeer
Sophie’s Closet by Stéphanie Ghazal
Around a Table by Parissa Mohit
Story of A Curse #1 by Negin Sharifzadeh-Moss
Here and Elsewhere by Hira Nabi
I am alive by Khadija Baker
Fortune by Vandana Jain
Emily and Anmer by Aindri Chakraborty


$1000: Best Narrative/Documentary Film
$1000: Best Video Art Production
$500: Alwan 3rd i Audience Award
Voting for the Audience Award will take place during screenings.
The Alwan 3rd i Awards Competition aims to present the very best in recent short films and video art that increase awareness of the creative vitality and sociopolitical realities of the Middle East, North Africa and South and Central Asia as well as their global diasporas.




130 km to Heaven by Khaled Khella

130 KM TO HEAVEN by Khaled Khella (13’00″ | Egypt | 2014| Arabic with English Subtitles)

An aspirational young man leaves his hometown for the first time, following his bestfriend on the road in an attempt to turn their life around.

Born in Cairo, Khaled Khella is a self-taught filmmaker who learned the art by reading and watching films in order to be able to tell his stories using cinematic tools. Today, Khella has become one of the promising indie-filmmakers in Egypt. His work aims to embody and present the suffering of the poor and the marginalized effectively through his footage.

Beit Iksa Boys by Maeve Brennan

BEIT IKSA BOYS  by Maeve Brennan (8’00″ | Palestine | 2013 | Arabic with English Subtitles)

A fragmentary account of a journey through Jerusalem Stone quarries, Beit Iksa Boys indirectly explores the complex role of land, stone and resources in the West Bank. With a focus on personal encounters, the human scale of such monumental forces is made visible.

Maeve Brennan (b.1990, London) is a visual artist working in video and installation currently based in Beirut.

Last Ditch by Mahi Bena

LAST DITCH by Mahi Bena (18′ | France | 2013 | Arabic/French with English Subtitles)

Slimane leaves the foreign students’ office. He comes to learn that the renewal his residence permit has been refused. His friend, Mehdi, has a solution: a marriage of convenience. But in return, Slimane must agree to work with him in his illegal business to repay what this wedding will cost. Slimane refuses, at first, but when he sees his situation worsening, he begins to have doubts about these convictions. Will he yield to temptation?


Born and raised in Algeria, Mahieddine Benabed (Mahi Bena) was passionate about film from a young age. He moved to France on November 12, 2001, where he took courses in screenwriting. He has written many short films, Boomerang: The Short, The Third Voice, The Escort, A Patriot, Who Wins Loses … and, most recently Last-Ditch. Today, Bena is working on an ambitious project entitled, Ambush: Chronicles of an Unnamed War, about the bloody conflict plaguing Algeria for the past two decades. The film chronicles the experience of a platoon of soldiers over two weeks during a sweep operation in the mountains of western Algeria.

The Visit by Liva Dudareva and Eduardo Cassina

THE VISIT by Liva Dudareva and Eduardo Cassina (8’33″ | Lebanon | 2014 | Arabic with English subtitles)

The Visit conceptualises the mountain village of Meziara as a suburb of an invisible city. The incredibly wealthy settlement owes its present shape to the remittances of villagers that migrated to Brazil, Benin, and Nigeria over the past century. It is precisely in this transnational set of networks that this urban specimen is configured.


METASITU was founded in early 2014 by Eduardo Cassina and Liva Dudareva. Born with the goal of expanding the discussions surrounding the inhabitation of the territory to different and wider audiences, at METASITU we look for means of storytelling that reveal our urban investigation through different prisms.Liva Dudareva (Jelgava/Latvia, 1984) was trained as a landscape architect in Latvia and Sweden, before moving to London to work as a researcher at CHORA. She then continued her studies in landscape architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art, before joining the award-winning landscape architecture firm Gross.Max in Scotland. She then moved to Moscow where she co-founded METASITU, an art collective and urban consultancy devoted to the exploration of future tactics.Eduardo Cassina (Móstoles/Spain, 1986) is an architect and urban sociologist trained in the United Kingdom, Portugal, The Netherlands and China. He has worked as a researcher and exhibition designer for the Guggenheim museums in Venice and New York, as well as for the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi). After working as an urban researcher for Goldsmiths, he moved to Moscow to join the Strelka Institute, where he continued his exploration of representation of urban data in new and innovative ways. In 2014 he co-founded METASITU.


Departures by Wissam Tanios

DEPARTURES by Wissam Tanios (15’7″| Lebanon | 2013 | Arabic with English Subtitles)

Walid is conflicted about leaving the country for a better job abroad, due to his friend’s Omar intrusive visit at his family home.

Born on the 4th of November 1989 in Beirut, Wissam Tanios developed a passion for acting and movies at a young age. He began his studies in 2008 at IESAV majoring in cinema. Being faithful to his love for the arts, he appeared in several TV commercials and a few theatrical productions. Cinema that tackles subjects like family, detachment and relationships is his favorite. His sister Carla remains his source of inspiration. His documentary “Aftermath” won Best Documentary at the 10th Lebanese Film Festival in 2012. It was also selected for five different international and local film festivals around the world, including the Oriental film Festival at Geneva. “Departures” is his second short film.


Voices (Aswat) by Hussain AlRiffaei

VOICES (Aswat) by Hussain AlRiffaei (3’45″| Bahrain | 2012 | Silent)

An old woman, physically present in her life, does her daily duties in a monotonous way, but spiritually, lives in another reality.


Hussain AlRiffaei has worked in many theatrical, TV and film productions as an actor and assistant director in Bahrain and throughout the Arab region. He has written two short films: There (2011) and Voices (2012), and produced and directed four short films: A Dinner (2008), The Cage (2009), There (2011) and Voices (2012).



Khalid's Camel by Brian Zegeer

 by Brian Zegeer (2’30″ | USA | 2014)

Khalid’s Camel recounts an episode from Ameen Rihani’s 1911 novel, The Book of Khalid, 
visualizing the protagonist’s efforts to raise money for sea passage to America as a progressive metamorphosis that speaks to contemporaneous European models of spiritual and societal evolution, and the fraught process of identity construction for first-generation immigrants. 

Brian Zegeer was born in Lexington, KY. His works encounter the Appalachian and Lebanese landscapes of his parentage as highly­charged networks of affiliation and group narrative. Zegeer believes that the process of stop­motion animation can catalyze objects in the landscape to reveal their metaphoric, political, and forensic content­the ghosts of their obscure histories. In 2015, at the Queens Museum, Zegeer will stage the Little Syria Archive, a collection of historical artifacts, stereoscopic 3D animations, and public encounters transcribing the history and notable luminaries of New York’s first Arabic enclave. Zegeer also co­hosts the interview­based radio program I Ran into Iran (Creativetime Reports, ResonanceFM, London). He received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, attended Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in 2010, and has recently shown at The Queens Museum, The Delaware Art Museum, The Jersey City Museum, Louis V. ESP, Regina Rex, Elga Wimmer Gallery, and Stephan Stoyanov Gallery.


Sophie's Closet by Stéphanie Ghazal

SOPHIE’S CLOSET by Stéphanie Ghazal (17′| Lebanon/Denmark | 2014 | Arabic, French with English Subtitles)

When she’s away, I get trapped in a maze and there’s no way out. As much as I want to move, I eventually find myself staying here, waiting for her. There’s such a heavy stillness in between departures and returns…

Born in Beirut in 1985, architect and filmmaker Stéphanie Ghazal graduated from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA, Beirut, Lebanon) in 2009, with a Master’s Degree in Architecture. Her final year project Un Observatoire sur la Ligne Verte -dealing with post-war recovery and memory-, was granted the Mitri Nammar Award, and was nominated for the Jaderji Award. She is doing a masters program in film research at the Institut d’Etudes Scéniques et Audiovisuelles (Beirut), where she works on the representation of post-war cities in cinema. She has developed a complex representation pattern that encompasses a multidisciplinary approach revolving around personal experiences, communal interactions and relationships with territory.
Stéphanie is currently working on her third short film, Notes on the Present (2015), a psychological sequel to The Unexpected Morning After (2014, 6:30min) and Sophie’s Closet (2014, 17min).


Around a Table by Parissa Mohit

AUTOUR D’UNE TABLE (Around a Table) by Parissa Mohit (11′ | Canda | 2013 |French with English subtitles)

A cup of coffee may unveil untold stories.

Parissa Mohit lives and works in Montréal, Canada. She studied theatre design for four years before continuing her exploration in film animation. Her experiences in set construction and theatre design have influenced her approach to film animation, where she builds her imaginary worlds in different scales. That is where she gives life to her films. In 2010, her film The Man and the Train won the Oboro George Laoun prize for the best short film. She was also a selected artist for the M.A.I. (Montreal Arts Interculturelles) long term mentorship in 2011, as well as the M.A.I. and PRIM residency in 2011 and 2012.


Story of a Curse #1 by Negin Sharifzadeh-Moss

STORY OF A CURSE #1 by Negin Moss-Sharifzadeh (4’49″ | USA | 2014)

Story of a Curse #1 is inspired by Negin’s mother’s story of moving through loss and despair. Two weeks from her due date, she realized she would give birth to a still-born baby. Birth, a symbol of bringing new life, changed to delivering death into the world of the living. After almost nine months of waiting, all the dreams of becoming a mother were shattered. Preparing the baby’s room, preparing herself for motherhood and the joy she would share with family and friends all disappeared inside a day. To soothe herself, she came to believe that she had been cursed and took the baby to the cemetery instead of home. Story of a Curse #1 deals with the dream of motherhood, the emotional bond between a baby in the womb and the mother, and the connection between the body of a baby developing inside the mother’s body. It looks at the hopes carried by the promise of new life and hope, and grief as these are stolen.

Negin Sharifzadeh is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer, and filmmaker based in New York. Growing up in Iran, one of the world’s most historically and socially complex regions, in the wake of revolution, she is fascinated by the mechanisms and interplay of different natural, emotional, and political systems. She has explored these themes through multiple mediums of drawing, sculpture, performance and more increasingly combining all through stop-motion animation. Sharifzadeh’s short animated film, Even Gray Feels Blue, has been featured in festivals, galleries, and museums around the world, receiving numerous awards in New York film festivals and Video art competitions. Sharifzadeh has had solo exhibitions and performances in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Sao Paulo, and Tehran, and has been part of numerous international group exhibitions. She received her BFA in Sculpture from Tehran University in Iran in 2002, and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Performing Arts in 2010.

Here and Elsewhere by Hira Nabi

HERE AND ELSEWHERE by Hira Nabi (7’42″ | USA | 2014)

A father writes a future letter to his daughter while filming her early childhood. Set in Portugal and Germany, in the early 90s, this short layers the personal and the political, weaving together the narratives of immigration, memory, political upheaval, and fatherhood.


Hira Nabi works with film, video, archival material, sound, and text to build layers of meaning out of every day events. She works with memory, nostalgia, and daily rituals as an aesthetic trope. Using the camera as a form of archiving, and as documentation of the continuous present, her work is experimental in its splicing of fiction and documentary. She is currently studying audio production, and researching cinematic spaces at the New School. She graduated from Hampshire College with a BA in video and post colonial theory. She is from Lahore, Pakistan and is an itinerant media artist. Her work has shown in New York, Havana, Mexico City, Karachi, and Lahore.

I am alive by Khadija Baker

I AM ALIVE by Khadija Baker (5’29″ | CANADA | 2014)

I am alive was originally created to accompany the performance piece “don’t leave me I am alive”. I am alive is a poetic experimental animation using cutting edges methods and illustration with human hair. The work involves narrative storytelling to create active spaces of empathy and greater understanding, with the goal of initiating discussion about the need for peace-making. The work aims to highlight the fact that although different groups in society may share similar exposure to violence, women and children are the most vulnerable and pay the highest price of conflict and war. The work depicts the story of a little girl, found alive after a chemical weapon attack that took place in Syria in 2013.

Khadija Baker is a multidisciplinary artist who creates installations that combine video, digital art, sound and animation. Her work explores social and political themes related persecution, displacement and memory. Having worked with a variety of media such as painting, fibers, and video/moving images, her current research combines these practices to create intimate site-specific sculptural installation environments that engage the senses (sight, sound, and touch.) Her work breaches the divide between artist, art and public, creating an active space of participation, exchange, understanding and storytelling. She has received many awards and scholarships, including the Millennium Scholarship at Concordia University (2005 & 2006). Khadija has exhibited in cultural capitals such as Montreal, Toronto, New York, London, Berlin, Marseille, New Delhi, Beirut, and Damascus, and presented her work at the 18th Biennale in Sydney, Australia, 2012.

Fortune by Vandana Jain


FORTUNE by Vandana Jain (3’34″ | USA | 2012)

Fortune 100 is a three-minute animation that features the top 100 global companies as rated by Fortune magazine in 2011. The Walmart starburst, Pemex eagle, and IBM logotype appear slowly on screen in order of rank, accompanied by a variety of open-source sounds, ranging from the industrial to the spiritual to the natural.


Vandana Jain recontextualizes the rich visual symbolic language surrounding us to comment on capitalism, globalization, and consumerism. Jain has exhibited nationally and internationally, with special projects and solo exhibitions at Lakeeren Gallery in Mumbai, India, and Station Independent Projects, Smack Mellon and BRIC House in New York City. She has received several awards including the Emerging Artist’s Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency, and the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant. She is an active member of the Visual Arts Collective at ABC No Rio, an alternative community arts center in New York City. She is a founding member of artcodex, an artist collective fostering artistic community through travel, humor, and politics. Jain works out of Brooklyn, New York.


Emily and Anmer by Aindri Chakraborty

by Aindri Chakraborty in collaboration with Oisín Mac Aodha
4’56″ | United Kingdom | 2013

On 4th June 1913, suffragette Emily Davison dies after colliding with King George’s horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby. On 14th June 1913 a memorial service to Emily takes place at St. George’s church in London. Specially made purple silk banners included Joan of Arc’s last words: “Fight on and God will give the victory.” The film attempts to reunite both Emily and Anmer within the walls of the church and tries to shed light on the spiritual significance of her martyrdom. 


Aindri Chakraborty is an animator and illustrator of Indian origin. Her hand drawn animations explore themes from our inner to surrounding environments. Her previous animation, “Our Oceans”, voiced by oceanographer Sylvia Earle, looked at the damage caused by industrial fishing.Oisín Mac Aodha is a research associate based in London. His work involves creating algorithms that help scientists extract information from large quantities of audio and visual data.

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