I Am the Revolution

I AM THE REVOLUTION is an empowering portrait of three determined women in the Middle East who are leading the fight for gender equality and freedom. Politician Selay Ghaffar is one of the most wanted people in the world by the Taliban and yet she still travels through Afghanistan to educate other women about their rights. Rojda Felat is a commander of the Syrian Democratic Army, leading 60,000 troops to defeat ISIS, including freeing their hold on Raqqa and rescuing its people. And Yanar Mohammed, named by the BBC as one of 100 most influential women in the world in 2018, pushes for parliamentary reform in Iraq while running shelters for abused women. Despite battling seemingly overwhelming obstacles, all three women display resilience, bravery and compassion. I AM THE REVOLUTION challenges the images of veiled, silent women in the Middle East and instead reveals the extraordinary strength of women rising up on the front lines to claim their voice and their rights.
Learn more

The Feeling of Being Watched

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where journalist and filmmaker Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counter terrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11, code-named "Operation Vulgar Betrayal." With unprecedented access, THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community-including her own family-fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened and takes the FBI to federal court to compel them to make the records they collected about her community public. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community. THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.
Learn more

Playing With Fire: Women Actors Of Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, women deciding to be actors make a dangerous choice. Banned under Taliban rule (1994-2001), Afghan theater is experiencing a comeback with many women at the forefront. But with powerful forces of Islamic fundamentalism, a resurgent Taliban, and patriarchal traditions in play, actresses often face the harshest criticism and are even sometimes viewed as prostitutes. Socially ostracized, and pressured to abandon their careers, they receive beatings and death threats for them and their family. Some are forced to flee the country and some are even killed. PLAYING WITH FIRE introduces us to six courageous Afghan women who share their passions for acting, dreams, and difficult realities. They include Sajida, a student targeted by extremists; Monirah, besieged co-founder of an innovative women’s theater troupe; Tahera, forced into exile because of award-winning work at a theater festival; Roya, whose TV career brings her constant harassment; and Leena and Breshna, unprotected by their stage and motion picture fame. Filmmaker Anneta Papathanassiou exposes pervasive erosions of Afghan women’s rights. Her timely, eye-opening documentary perfectly captures art’s transformative power and the dangers these courageous women face to do the work they love.
Learn more

Camera/Woman

Working as a videographer at weddings in Casablanca, Khadija Harrad is part of the new generation of young, divorced Moroccan women seeking to realize their desires for freedom and independence while honoring their families' wishes. Mother of an 11-year-old son and primary breadwinner for her parents and siblings as well, she navigates daily between the elaborate fantasy world of the parties she films and harassment from her traditionally conservative family, which disapproves of her occupation and wants her only to remarry. CAMERA/WOMAN, shot in vérité style, follows Khadija on the job, at home, and with supportive women friends who are divorced and share similar experiences. As it unveils the issues that confront working-class Muslim women in societies now undergoing profound change, this arresting film reveals that for Khadija, unbowed in the face of overwhelming odds, the camera becomes a liberating force.
Learn more

Jasad & The Queen of Contradictions

Lebanese poet and writer Joumana Haddad has stirred controversy in the Middle East for having founded Jasad (the Body), an erotic quarterly Arabic-language magazine. Dedicated to the body’s art, science and literature, Jasad is one of the first of its kind in the Arab world and has caused a big debate in the Arabic region not only for its explicit images, erotic articles and essays on sex in Arabic but also for the fact that an Arab woman is behind it all. Despite Beirut’s external appearance of freedom portrayed through its infamous nightlife and women’s stylish and open revealing fashion sense, this is all still taboo. JASAD & THE QUEEN OF CONTRADICTIONS, by Lebanese director Amanda Homsi-Ottosson, tackles the subject of sexuality in Lebanon, giving insight on the rare use of the Arabic language to discuss sex and erotica. Different views regarding the magazine and sexuality are also given by the head of a women’s rights organization, a sexual health educator and a doctor who performs hymen reconstruction surgeries. Despite the debates, the threats and the lack of funds, one passionate woman shows no sign of slowing down her small steps towards a “sexual revolution” in the Arab world.
Learn more

Mother, Lebanon & Me

A visually striking meditation on loss and a perceptive political critique, this deeply personal work has two subjects: filmmaker Olga Naccache’s ailing mother and the chaotic country where Naccache was raised. Both fell sick in 1975, the onset of incurable depression for one and a bloody civil war ushering in deep divisions for the other. In this sequel to LEBANON: BITS AND PIECES (1994), Naccache ponders the plight of the country she clearly loves while honoring the mother dear to her. Her montage draws on conversations with Naccache's mother toward the end of life, along with footage of this beautiful, accomplished woman and ardent secularist in more physically robust times. Stunning scenes of tranquil Beirut and southern Lebanon contrast with close-ups of a nation under siege from within and abroad. Recent interviews with two longtime friends—a leftist teacher of philosophy in a Christian village school and a Shiite Muslim viewing Hezbollah as Lebanon’s only hope—raise crucial questions about the nation’s identity and precarious future.
Learn more

3 Times Divorced

How does a Palestinian woman in Israel survive an abusive husband? When Gaza-born Khitam’s abusive Arab Israeli husband divorces her and gains custody of her six children, she suddenly finds herself fighting two heart-breaking battles: against the Sharia Muslim court to get her children back, and against the state of Israel, which considers her an illegal resident and denies her protection in a shelter for battered women. 3 TIMES DIVORCED is a fascinating and disturbing look at a civil and religious legal system that denies women the right to get a divorce independent of their husbands. It highlights the bind that abused women find themselves in when their immigration status is contingent upon marriage. With remarkable access and an unflinching lens that never sensationalizes, award-winning filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana captures Khitam’s astonishing courage as she faces an impossible situation with no country or court to protect her.
Learn more

These Girls

Screened to audiences at the Cannes, Toronto, and New York film festivals, this fresh, irresistibly lively, intensely engaging documentary from widely acclaimed Egyptian director Tahani Rached (SORAÏDA, WOMAN OF PALESTINE and FOUR WOMEN OF EGYPT) follows a band of teenage girls living on the streets of Cairo. Rached won astonishing access to the girls’ world; this vigorous, cinematic film is built upon the deep trust of its subjects and the long experience of the filmmaker. Already at a disadvantage as impoverished and abused girls in a Muslim society, they encounter rape, drug addiction, prostitution, pregnancy and motherhood on the streets. While the girls’ troubles are not downplayed, neither are their courage, playfulness and vibrant camaraderie. Rached brings alive the pulse of Cairo’s streets, offering an unsentimental portrait that avoids traps of guilt or cheap pity. What stands out is the strength and sheer joy that these girls project. With deft skill Rached reveals an invisible world and offers a loving homage to the inspirational, fierce girls who inhabit it.
Learn more

Leila Khaled: Hijacker

In 1969 Palestinian Leila Khaled made history by becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane. As a Palestinian child growing up in Sweden, filmmaker Lina Makboul admired Khaled for her bold actions; as an adult, she began asking complex questions about the legacy created by her childhood hero. This fascinating documentary is at once a portrait of Khaled, an exploration of the filmmaker’s own understanding of her Palestinian identity, and a complicated examination of the nebulous dichotomy between "terrorist" and "freedom fighter." When Makboul tracks Khaled down, she finds Khaled living an ordinary life in Jordan, still firm in her belief that her actions were necessary and fully justified. The film weaves together scenes with Khaled, archival footage, and interviews with the people who were on the planes Khaled hijacked. Makboul searches for a way to reconcile her understanding of the Palestinian national narrative - which now includes Khaled’s actions - with the negative image she encounters from the rest of the world of Palestinians as bloodthirsty terrorists. At the same time, she comes to know Khaled for the very real person that she is as they talk, travel together, and share meals. The result is a multi-dimensional film unlike any other in its skillful handling of the complexities that arise when liberation movements incorporate violence as a tactic.
Learn more

A Woman's Word

Beautiful and intimate, A WOMAN'S WORD depicts the life and writings of three exceptional authors of the Arab word – Nawal Al Saadawi from Egypt, Hanan Al Shaykh from Lebanon, and Janata Bennuna from Morocco. For all three women, becoming a writer was never a choice but a necessity – a vocation fought for and hard won. In her own way, each writer struggles as an Arab woman in a society that often wants to shut down her powerful voice. Conveying the intense drive of these women to write as a way to make sense of the world, to battle their sense of alienation or to express their political dissent, this documentary shatters the clichéd image of the oppressed and helpless Arab woman too often portrayed in the media. A WOMAN'S WORD deftly weaves together interviews, family photos, voiceovers of each author reading from her work, and lingering, sensual footage of the cities each woman lives in. Each author discusses her childhood, her development as a writer, and the political and cultural forces that have shaped her life and work. By allowing the viewer to enter, for a moment, into the vibrant lives of these authors, this film offers an accessible introduction or insightful companion piece to the works of these authors.
Learn more

Women in Struggle

WOMEN IN STRUGGLE presents rare testimony from four female Palestinian ex-detainees who disclose their experiences during their years of imprisonment in Israeli jails and the effect it has had on their present lives and future outlooks. Once content in their lives as sisters, wives and mothers, each of the women became active members for the national fight for Palestinian independence, but their “crimes” differed markedly–one woman was detained in a peaceful protest while another was arrested for her participation in a bombing. Their painful recollections provide a fascinating personal perspective on their motives for political involvement, reveal their struggles in prison, and define the difficulties they have faced readjusting to life in Palestinian society. Though the women are now free, they continue to feel imprisoned by the current climate of the Intifada, by the “war on terror” and by the recently built “security” wall. With horrifying stories of torture suffered while in Israeli detention, the film brings to the forefront the hot-button issue of human rights abuses in prisons—and its particular implications for women prisoners. It also grapples with timely and difficult questions—what politicizes an individual? Are people born to fight, or do their circumstances force them to do so? Presented without narration, WOMEN IN STRUGGLE does not categorize its subjects as heroes or criminals, instead letting the women’s voices stand on their own to add another layer to the complex discourse on Israel.
Learn more

Paradise Lost

Arab Israeli filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana grew up in Paradise (Fureidis in Arabic), a small fishing village overlooking the Mediterranean. One of the few Arab communities remaining after the 1948 war, Paradise became culturally and politically isolated as Jewish settlements sprung up around it, and today it is a place defined by silence and repression. This thought-provoking and intimate film diary follows the director’s attempt to recreate the village’s lost history, including the story of her childhood hero Suuad, the legendary local “bad girl” who was imprisoned as a PLO activist in the 1970’s and banished from the community. The director’s frustration builds as her questions are resisted, and her hopes soar when she finally meets Suuad, now a Doctor of Law living in the UK. Stunning cinematography and evocative music underscore the power of Mara’ana’s film, whose lyrical, emotionally charged tone is strikingly honest and straightforward. Presenting the rarely heard voice of an Arab Israeli, this important film offers valuable insight into the contradictions and complexities of modern womanhood and national identity in the Middle East.
Learn more

My Terrorist

In 1978, filmmaker Yulie Cohen was wounded in a terrorist attack by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. A stewardess for the Israeli airline El Al, she was attacked along with other crewmembers when getting off the bus to the hotel in London. In a remarkable twist of faith, twenty-three years later Cohen began questioning the causes of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and started to consider helping release the man who almost killed her, Fahad Mihyi. From the time she was a young girl, Cohen considered herself a staunch Israeli nationalist. Growing up in an upper middle class neighborhood in Israel (where her neighbors included future Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Arik Sharon, and military hero Moshe Dayan), she patriotically served in the military. After working as an Israel coordinator on a film shoot and visiting the occupied territories, Cohen came to realize that both Israelis and Palestinians played a role in perpetuating the cycle of hostility and bloodshed. It was her goal to stand up as a survivor and call for reconciliation on each side. An inspiring story of forgiveness, Cohen’s poignant documentary is a moving testimony of human compassion and a call for peace.
Learn more

Girls Still Dream

In this engrossing new documentary, award-winning filmmaker Ateyyat El Abnoudy realistically portrays the challenges facing girls in a country where one in four marries before age sixteen and one in five ever attends school. While girls both in and out of school share ambitions ranging from becoming a doctor to attaining basic reading skills, parents express mixed feelings about education's relevance. An affecting view of how Egyptian women still struggle for such basic human rights as education and the avoidance of compulsory marriage, GIRLS STILL DREAM highlights the cultural clash between traditional values and young women's growing self-awareness in the developing world.
Learn more

Lebanon: Bits and Pieces

LEBANON: BITS AND PIECES is an exquisitely beautiful and profoundly moving exploration of the myths and realities of present-day Lebanon, as reflected through the voices of women. During Olga Naccache's childhood, Lebanon was known to the outside world as an exemplary model of peace in the heart of an Arab Middle East dominated by dictators. Following a seven year absence, Naccache returned to Lebanon with a camera to record the dreams, disappointments and worries of women of her own generation and to meet a younger generation of women whose only memory is that of war. Through these voices, Naccache’s own voyage of rediscovery is revealed — rediscovery of her country and of herself.
Learn more

Hidden Faces

Originally intended as a film about internationally renowned feminist writer Nawal El Saadawi, HIDDEN FACES develops into a fascinating portrayal of Egyptian women’s lives in Muslim society. In this collaborative documentary, Safaa Fathay, a young Egyptian woman living in Paris, returns home to interview the famed writer and activist, but becomes disillusioned with her. Illuminated by passages from El Saadawi’s work, the film follows Fathay’s journey to her family home and discovers similar complex frictions between modernity and tradition. Her mother’s decision to return to the veil after twenty years and her cousins’ clitoridectomies reveal a disturbing renewal of fundamentalism. This absorbing documentary broaches the contradictions of feminism in a Muslim environment; a startling, unforgettable picture of contemporary women in the Arab world.
Learn more

A State of Danger

Shot in Israel and the Occupied Territories, this extraordinary documentary offers a unique, vital perspective on the Intifada seldom seen in U.S. mainstream media. Produced for the BBC, A State of Danger gives voice to Palestinian and Israeli peace activists, most of them women. Chilling testimonies to Israeli police brutality are supplemented by interviews with Israelis who support Palestinian self-determination. A STATE OF DANGER is a compelling, timely documentary that examines grassroots support, human rights and the role of Arab and Jewish women in bringing peace to the region.
Learn more
Shopping Cart