A Thousand Girls Like Me

A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME is an awe-inspiring vérité documentary that tells the story of a young Afghan woman’s brave fight to seek justice and protect her children after experiencing years of abuse at the hands of her father. Khatera Golzad’s father physically and sexually abused her for more than thirteen years, and after several aborted pregnancies, she gave birth to a daughter and a son. Despite her many attempts to file charges, neither the Afghan police nor the legal system helped her. In 2014, she appeared on national television to publicly accuse her father, finally succeeding in bringing her case to court despite threats from male relatives and judges who labelled her a liar. Shedding light on the broken Afghan judicial system and the women it seldom protects, A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME is the story of one woman’s battle against cultural, familial, and legal pressures as she embarks on a mission to set a positive example for her daughter and other girls like her. In a country where the systematic abuse of girls is rarely discussed, Afghan filmmaker Sahra Mani’s film is ultimately a story of bravery, love, hope and resilience.
Learn more

A Revolution in Four Seasons

The Tunisian Revolution sparked the Arab Spring. But revolution was the easy part—as two women learned on the journey from protest to functioning government. Emna Ben Jemaa and Jawhara Ettis represent opposite sides of their country’s politics: One is a well-known journalist in the city, fighting for free speech. The other is a strict Islamist from a rural town, elected to help draft the new constitution. Despite their differences, both face the threat of extremists hijacking their fragile political process, and both Emna and Jawhara have to make difficult choices to balance their public political roles with their domestic environment. The film is a gripping and surprising perspective on the clash between Islam and secularism, and the political role of women in the Arab world. Offering an insightful portrait of the messy work of democracy, A REVOLUTION IN FOUR SEASONS is especially poignant in this global era of divided politics.
Learn more

Sonita

Two-time Sundance Film Festival award winner SONITA tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. For the time being, her only fans are the other teenage girls in a Tehran shelter. And her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she's worth $9,000. Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami (GOING UP THE STAIRS) poignantly shifts from observer to participant altering expectations, as Sonita's story unfolds in this personal and joyful portrait. An intimate portrait of creativity and womanhood, SONITA highlights the rarely seen intricacies and shifting contrasts of Iranian society through the lens of an artist who is defining the next generation.
Learn more

Voices of Muslim Women from the US South

When one thinks of the American Deep South, the image of veiled Muslim students strolling the University of Alabama campus is the last thing that comes to mind. VOICES OF MUSLIM WOMEN FROM THE US SOUTH is a documentary that explores the Muslim culture through the lens of five University of Alabama Muslim students. The film tackles how Muslim women carve a space for self-expression in the Deep South and how they negotiate their identities in a predominantly Christian society that often has unflattering views about Islam and Muslims. Through interviews with students and faculty at Alabama, this film examines representations and issues of agency by asking: How do Muslim female students carve a space in a culture that thinks of Muslims as terrorists and Muslim women as backward?
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

Saving Face

Winner of the Academy Award® for Best Documentary (Short Subject), SAVING FACE is a harshly realistic view of violence against women in South Asia. Every year in Pakistan, many women are known to be victimized by brutal acid attacks, with numerous cases going unreported. Plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad left his prominent London practice to return to his home country and help the victims of such attacks. Two of these women, Zakia and Rukhsana, are victims of brutal acid attacks by their husbands and in Rukhsana’s case, her in-laws as well. Both attempt to bring their assailants to justice and move on with their lives with the help of NGOs, sympathetic policymakers, politicians, support groups with other acid attack victims and Dr. Jawad. SAVING FACE also depicts a Pakistan that is changing - one where ordinary people can stand up and make a difference and where marginalized communities can seek justice.
Learn more

Rights & Wrongs

By returning to the roots of Islam and understanding how societies have found justification for their treatment of women within Islamic sources, this thoughtful and far reaching film is an essential resource that debunks myths about women and Islam. Renowned Muslim feminist scholars and journalists, including Asra Q. Nomani, Mona Eltahawy, Azadeh Moaveni, Dr. Amina Wadud, Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl and Asma Gull Hasan, detail how from early on very different understandings of the Qur’an lead to vastly different translations, with enormous repercussions for women living in different Islamic societies around the world. The film alternates between the history of Mohammad and issues facing Muslim women today—from the wearing of the veil, to praying in the mosque, and attitudes towards domestic violence and honor killings. It also looks at how feminism works within Islam in the modern era. RIGHTS & WRONGS is indispensable for courses on Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, comparative religion, women’s studies and more.
Learn more

Voices Unveiled: Turkish Women Who Dare

Can Islamic values co-exist with full equality for women? VOICES UNVEILED examines this timely issue through portraits of three women pursuing life paths and careers of their own choosing in present-day Turkey. Each has defied social expectations in a democratic, secular nation where religious fundamentalism has re-emerged as a political force and patriarchal values still prevail. Well-known textile artist Belkis Belpinar, whose work combines science and kilim rug traditions, resisted her father’s wishes that she study engineering. Dancer and psychologist Banu Yucelar braved family opposition to modern dance, widely perceived as a form of prostitution. Women’s rights activist Nur Bakata Mardin helps women in underserved communities, where old beliefs hold sway, form small business cooperatives. As engaging as its subjects, VOICES UNVEILED punctuates its in-depth portraits with insights from other Turks and lively discussions that include intergenerational debates over veiling. The film is a valuable companion to WOMEN OF TURKEY, which offers a different take on gender roles that embrace modern lifestyles and Islamic culture.
Learn more

Quest for Honor

A searing and necessary documentary, QUEST FOR HONOR, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for an Academy® Award nomination for Feature Documentary, investigates the still prevalent practice of honor killing in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The alarming rise in the heinous act of men killing daughters, sisters and wives who threaten “family honor,” endangers tens of thousands of women in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and adjoining countries. The Women’s Media Center of Suleymaniyah, Iraq, has joined forces with Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to end this practice. The film follows Runak Faranj, a former teacher and tireless activist, as she works with local lawmen, journalists and members of the KRG to solve the murder of a widowed young mother, protect the victim of a safe-house shooting, eradicate honor killing and redefine honor. This is essential viewing for Muslim and Islamic studies, Middle Eastern studies, and human rights courses.
Learn more

Salata Baladi (An Egyptian Salad)

Award-winning Egyptian filmmaker Nadia Kamel’s heritage is a complex blend of religions and cultures. Her mother is a half-Jewish, half-Italian Christian who converted to Islam when she married Nadia’s half-Turkish, half-Ukrainian father. Prompted by the realization that her 10-year-old nephew Nabeel is growing up in an Egyptian society where talk of culture clashes is all too common, she urges her feminist, pacifist, activist mother, Mary Rosenthal, to share their diverse family history. But, as she and Mary weave their way through the family’s multiethnic fairytales, they bump unexpectedly into the silence around old prejudices concerning the estranged Egyptian-Jewish branch of their family living in Israel since 1948. Bravely inspired to further challenge the boundaries between cultures, religions, and nationalities that are used to divide people, Kamel embarks on an amazing personal journey with her mother and nephew to Israel and Italy, confronting with an open heart, fears and prejudices along the way.
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

Women of Turkey: Between Islam and Secularism

In this thought-provoking documentary, veiled and unveiled women explore relationships between Islam and secularism in present-day Turkey, where millions of women, many of them educated and urban, wear the headscarf or hijab. For her survey, filmmaker Naccache, who was born in Turkey and raised in Lebanon, draws on historical footage and individual visits with Turkish women from across the professional spectrum. Among them are the owner of a gallery devoted to Islamic art; a left-wing journalist whose politics stem from her religious convictions; a young intellectual adhering to a spirituality based on no single religion; and the film critic and columnist for a popular online newspaper. Their wide-ranging interviews, which analyze the background and impact of controversial bans on headscarves in universities and civil service, yield fresh perspectives on Turkish women’s integration of Islamic culture and modern lifestyles, as well as their far-reaching achievements and priorities for the future.
Learn more

They Call Me Muslim

In popular Western imagination, a Muslim woman in a veil – or hijab – is a symbol of Islamic oppression. But what does it mean for women’s freedom when a democratic country forbids the wearing of the veil? In this provocative documentary, filmmaker Diana Ferrero portrays the struggle of two women – one in France and one in Iran – to express themselves freely. In 2004, the French government instituted an "anti-veil law," forbidding Muslim girls from wearing the hijab to school. Samah, a teenager in Paris who, at 14 decided to wear the veil, explains how the law attacks her sense of identity – and does not make her feel liberated. “Who says that freedom is not wearing anything on your head?” she asks. Half a world away in Tehran, “K,” forced to wear the hijab by the Islamic regime, defiantly wears it her own way – and her translucent scarf loosely draped over her hair puts her at risk of arrest. When Ferrero films her at home, K, comfortable in a tank top and shorts, says, “They call me Muslim... But do you see me as a Muslim? What do you have in your mind for a Muslim person?” Beautifully shot and finely crafted, THEY CALL ME MUSLIM highlights how women still must struggle for the right to control their own bodies – not only under theocratic regimes, but also in secular, democratic countries where increasing discrimination against Muslims and sexism intersect.
Learn more

That Paradise Will Be Mine

Why would a woman in one of the most liberal Western European countries choose to become a Muslim and faithfully follow the demands of her new conviction – including wearing the veil? This eye-opening film follows the lives of three women dealing with the consequences of their choice to convert to Islam. Rather than pressing the women for the reasons behind their choice, director Merel Beernink takes a close look at their day-to-day lives, letting them speak candidly about how they feel in their new cultural and religious context. Issues of marriage and relationships loom large for all three women. Astrid, who had a brief but unhappy arranged marriage, is now living with her parents and looking for a husband. Inge is considering a move to Cairo to marry her Egyptian fiancé. Rabia is married to a Muslim man and struggling with matters such as polygamy and homosexuality. Their perspectives are complemented by revealing and often touching interviews with their parents. Capturing these women’s struggle to reconcile the expectations of their families and friends with the demands of their new conviction, Beernink’s intimate portraits offer fascinating insight into the choices made by these women to lead a different kind of life.
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

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

Runaway

“RUNAWAY is a powerful and heart-breaking documentary about a group of young runaway girls who are taken to a women's shelter in Tehran, Iran. The film focuses on the sufferings of young girls who struggle to free themselves from the tyrannical and abusive power of their families, mainly their fathers, brothers, and stepfathers. The sisterly feelings of the girls towards each other, their spiritual strength, their courage to rebel, and their wit are shown with a great degree of compassion and empathy in the film. The filmmakers have beautifully criticized the patriarchal system of family and the destructive power of male family members over the lives of their daughters and sisters. One can imagine that the issue of confinement and abuse goes beyond the issue of class when it comes to the problem of domestic violence and the desire to control women through anger, aggression and madness.” - Mehrnaz Saeed, Colombia College Chicago
Learn more

A Place Called Home

Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri grew up in pre-Revolution Tehran daydreaming about an ideal life in the West. Nineteen years later, after living and working in the U.S., Persheng explores her controversial decision to move back to Iran, to return to the place she never stopped calling home. In this fascinating and very personal documentary, Persheng's interviews with her family--with her mother and sister in the U.S. and with her father, who chose to remain in Iran--reveal some of the complex layers of expatriate, national and cultural identities. The film features a rare glimpse at women's lives in contemporary Tehran.
Learn more

Women of Niger

Niger is a traditionally Islamic country where authorized polygamy and Muslim fundamentalism clash with the country’s struggle for democracy. In elections in 1993, men voted by proxy for their different wives and daughters. Women who speak out about their rights have been physically attacked and ex-communicated by the ayatollahs. Working together, women are the most ardent defenders of democracy, which offers the best hope of winning the equal rights which are still denied them. Critical viewing for those interested in women’s human rights and the impact of fundamentalism.
Learn more
Shopping Cart