Each fall film fans and producers anticipate the annual Twin Cities Arab Film Festival. Some come as film buffs, some because of their interest in Arab culture, some just because they are committed to learning and building a robust Arab American community. Scheduled in the heat of campaign season, the 2016 Festival is described as “an antidote to hateful political rhetoric.” Whatever the motivation, the fact is that the 11th Twin Cities Arab Film Festival draws a crowd! (mizna.org/arabfilmfest — #arabfilmfest.)
Sponsored by Mizna the curated Festival launches on Thursday, September 29 with a film showing at St. Anthony Main Theatre followed by an Opening Night Party at Pracna. The Festival continues through October 2. All Festival films will be shown at St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE Main Street in Minneapolis.
It seems that the films never stop rolling during the weeklong Festival. The full schedule, including extensive background information on each film, the narrative, stars, and awards for each night’s film, is posted here: http://miznablog.org/arabfilmfest16/
The Festival is crafted to address the interests of Arab Americans and of the larger community for whom the films offer a tool to better understand and connect with the culture and experience of colleagues and neighbors. Informed audiences know well that film is a powerful medium for communicating “the diverse ways in which Arabs view themselves and the world they live in.” Because the films are otherwise unavailable to local audiences the Festival also provides a unique showcase for Arab and Arab-American film artists.
Sponsor of the Twin Cities Arab Festival is Mizna (www.mizna.org), a pillar of the area’s cultural community. The nonprofit cultural organizations serves as a forum for Arab American literature, film, and art. Mizna is best known, perhaps, as publisher of the nation’s only journal of Arab American literature (Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America). Mizna also presents a range of cultural activities including language and drumming classes, literary readings, community dialogues and collaborative initiatives that delve into the diverse experiences of Arab Americans.
Even as they launch the Film Festival Mizna staff and volunteers are preparing for a major gathering of leading writers, performers and scholars of the Arab American community. The sixth annual National Lit Gathering, RAWI+Mizna, will take place at Open Book from June 16 to 18, 2016. (https://rawiconference.wordpress.com)