Archive for cinema

Islam on Film: Discussion with a Muslim Film Director

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 26, 2008 by Nur Meryem Seja

E-mail W. has more than a decade of media production knowledge, including newsroom experience. He is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Missouri in St. Louis teaching cinema, digital editing, and other media aspects since 1995.  He was the winner of the 1996 Emmy Award – Mid America Chapter for producing and directing “Plight of the Refugees”. Many of us may remember seeing his video on YouTube, a black and white production with an American Muslim woman sitting in front of the mirror. On one side of the mirror, she’s dressed in Hijab, and on other side she’s without it, as she “discusses” wearing Hijab. It is inspiring and true to the experiences of the Muslim woman and her veil. I sat down with director Farzad W. to discuss his inspiration for this video and the state of Muslims in the media.

What was your inspiration for your video “A Discussion”?

This piece was based on an article that I wrote on Muslim Writers Society’s website a few years ago. The dialog is based on true discussions between different women and also based on discussions with some Muslim women who explained their struggle about wearing Hijab. What “inspired” me was the strength of Muslim women who wear the Hijab. Hijabi women have always been on the defensive, and due to their kind nature (generally speaking), they tend to be patient with all the crap that they get. This video was meant to show that a woman who wears the Hijab does so by her own will and it’s not an easy choice, and it explained the socio-religious reasons for wearing it and for not wearing it.

How is studying and being a practicing Muslim in the film and video industry?

Being a “practicing Muslim” or a Muslim who cares about Islamic laws is really challenging in this field, at least in America. Studying it had its own challenges. For example, I don’t shoot kissing scenes or nudity, and I am careful with profanity and sexual contents. But at the same time, I received a lot of respect and support from non-Muslims and less from Muslims. This was really surprising to me. But I have to clarify something: even if I were not a Muslim, I would still stay away from sexual scenes because they are not creative at all, and I see them as a cheap shot to get artificial audience…audience who are interested in the nudity but not interested in the core message of the film.  Continue reading


The Middle East International Film Festival 2008

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2008 by Nur Meryem Seja

E-mail Dhabi The organizers of the second Middle East International Film Festival, to be held from October 10-19, announced the special presentations line-up today at a press conference held at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).

Unveiling the special presentation screenings were Vice Chairman of MEIFF and Director General of ADACH, Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Project Coordinator Eissa Al Mazrouei, Executive Director Nashwa Al Ruwaini and Abdalla Bastaki, Director of the Emirates Film Competition.

Abu Dhabi’s cultural project, with its future horizons and openness to the other, would not be completed without a strong presence of cinema which constitutes one of the major themes of contemporary culture. The Middle East International Film Festival, since its launch in October last year, constitutes the first crucial step on that long road,” said Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei.“The inaugural Middle East International Film Festival was a huge challenge as to start a new festival that strives to have a predominant role in the international festival world is not easy with over 3000 other festivals taking place every year around the world. We believe that universality does not happen except through regionalism the Festival serves Arab cinema, especially in the Emirates and the Gulf, and we are honored to have great Arabic titles both in and out of competition as well as a massive selection of international films. We aspire to serve the art of film from all over the world. This year we promise an experience not to be missed for cinema lovers and interesting industry initiatives that would cater for the Industry professionals. Our extended ten days of the festival along with the new and returning sections of the festival will add on to the quality of achieving status as a must attend festival” quoted Nashwa Al Ruwaini.

In its second year, MEIFF strives to become a centre for filmmakers in the region and internationally to meet and present their films in a city fast becoming the leading cultural centre in the Middle East. The international element of the Festival this year is truly reflected in the line up of films that we will be screening this year. Jon Fitzgerald, MEIFF’s Director of Programming stated “It was a real challenge trying to achieve a true balance between East and West in our programming due to the sheer excellence in submissions from both this part of the world and beyond. Our viewing committee and programmers have viewed over a thousand films in order to get to the stage we are at currently in finalizing the final slate.” The festival has films from over 35 countries and all the five continents scheduled to screen this year, with the competition films and the other programming sections due to be released over the coming weeks leading up to the festival. Continue reading