Tag Archives: Mizna

Festival Director shares stories of Twin Cities Arab Film Festival 2017

No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” ― Ingmar Bergman

Powerful words spoken by a brilliant filmmaker whose genius lives in the films that will for all time shape our images and ideas.  As Bergman knew, film “goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”  It is for this reason that Mizna’s  2017 Arab Film Festival is needed at this hour.

In fact, Mizna has sponsored the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival for several years.  Over the years audiences have grown in number and interests as film lovers have experienced the curated program of screen reflections of the Arab experience.  Audiences have learned about the heterogeneity of Arab people and, through film, have explored the complexities of the culture which leads to true cultural understanding.

Mizna is at the epicenter of this region’s Arab American literature, film, and art; the organization, its programs and publication, are nationally recognized as the source of ideas and words related to the Arab American experience.   Minnesotans have learned to depend on the publication Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America as a unique resource.  Mizna is well-known as the sponsor of  literary events,  an ever-expanding  program of readings, community dialogues, even Arab drumming classes.  Moving Image, the recent film/discussion series hosted in collaboration with the Walker Art Center, is a good example of major Mizna initiatives.  https://walkerart.org/about/moving-image/

Over the years the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival has been held in various sites at different times of the year.  As of Fall 2016 the Film Festival has become an annual “institution.”  Will Wright of KFAI radio celebrated with a timely introduction to the idea and the relevance of the Festival. https://soundcloud.com/minneculture/with-more-arab-films-a-festival-goes-annual

This year, Voices of Northeast reached out to learn more.  (Though Mizna is now a St. Paul institution its roots are in Northeast Minneapolis — and NE roots run deep….)  We invited Festival DirectorMichelle Baroody to share the story of Mizna and the Film Festival during a free-flowing video interview.  The result is an absolutely delightful – and informative – discussion of the mission of Mizna, the goal and growth of the Film Festival, and the timeliness of the 2017 Twin Cities Arab Film Festival set for September 28-October 1 at various sites.

You will learn and be enthralled as Michelle shares her unique story and the back stories of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival.  Michelle  expresses with clarity and deep commitment the spirit that informs the Festival. https://youtu.be/jq2dd-VuY1Q

Then click on the Film Festival website for emerging details including the schedule of film showings, background information about the films and filmmakers, locations, ticketing information, more about the sponsor and excellent coverage of past festivals.

Summertime – A Good Time to “waste time” thinking!

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

John Lubbock, The Use of Life

True enough – it is by no means a waste of time to slow down, to listen and watch – in fact this sort of clearing of the mind accomplishes two goals: it takes the mental spotlight off the blast from the Beltway, and, more important, it creates ideal conditions for serious thinking – about “life, the universe and everything.”

Some powerful prompts may help to  jumpstart the dormant thinking process, try some or all of these:

  • There are just a few days remaining to visit the current exhibit at the White Bear Lake Center for the Arts. “Woven Together: Traditions of the Indigenous Culture of Peru” is curated by Melanie Eberts, founder of ArtAndes. ( http://artandes.com)  Wilber Quispe is the master weaver who shares the challenge to preserve the ancient craft.  (http://www.presspubs.com/white_bear/image_4f11082c-56b8-11e7-879d-6b6e70ae7ba8.html)  Read more about the unique partnership of Melanie and Wilber here: http://www.startribune.com/duets-wilbur-and-melanie-woven-together-across-continents/268625052/
  • The theme of fiber art continues with a show featuring fiber artist Tressa Sularz, http://www.mnartists.org/tressasularzwill) To learn more about Tressa, her life and creative work, view her Voices of Northeast conversation here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vq_pGW6Jm4.  Both exhibits are free and open to the public.  Learn more about the White Bear Center for the Arts here: http://whitebeararts.org
  • “Shout Out: Community Intervention, Independent Publishing and Alternative Distribution” is the theme of the Book Art Biennial, July 20-23, 2017. Centerpiece of the Book Art Biennial is presentation of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts Prize, “a unique award that showcases and honors the best artists’ books in the world.”  (Much more about this major national gathering on the MCBA website: http://www.mnbookarts.org/biennial/
  • Moving Image is Walker Art Center’s established series of exemplary films https://walkerart.org/about/moving-image/ “In solidarity with Minnesota immigrants and refugees” Mizna (http://Mizna.org) is collaborating with Walker to sponsor a series of films representative of the seven countries named in the original presidential travel ban.  Reshaping our World: Cinema without borders will be screened Wednesday evenings, 7:30 p.m. on July 5, 12, 19 and 26 and August 2.  Tickets are $10 (with reduced rates for Mizna community members).  The series begins with screening of A Stray, the story of a struggling young Somali-American living in Minneapolis.  The “stray” is, in fact, a dog with whom the young man, Adan, forms a friendship.  A Stray is preceded that evening by a screening of Rumee, a documentary created by Somali community residents who share refugee stories “from a strength-based perspective.” State Representative Ilhan Omar and actor Ifrah Mansour will discuss the films. The special viewing is just one feature of Somali Week 2017. (https://somaliweek.org) Details here: http://mizna.org/articles/events/175.shtml
  • It’s 4th of July weekend – think “up to the lake!” On Friday evening, June 30, Tim Jollymore will share the pleasure.  He’ll be reading from his new book, Lake Stories & Other Tales at Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street Northeast.  https://www.facebook.com/events/299092377204602/.  (You may even have an opportunity to the bookshop complete their move to new digs just up the road…)
  • Discovering hidden attributes of your of-an-age abode? Learn about Researching the History of Your Minneapolis Home at one of the learning opportunities sponsored by Special Collections staff at Minneapolis Central Library. The popular training sessions are scheduled for July 1, 10:30-11:30 at Special Collections, 4th floor, Minneapolis Central Library and August 5, 10:30-11:30 at Roosevelt Library.  Register online at https://hclib.bibliocommons.com/events or call 612 543 5669.

To truly expand your thinking horizons take advantage of the seasonally and politically  timely opportunity for deep thinking about the Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964.  It was the Civil Rights Act that outlawed all segregation on the basis of raceThe Law was intentionally – and decidedly – specific that this was to include any hotel, motel, restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, gas station, movie theater, concert hall, theater, sports arena, stadium of other place of “exhibition or entertainment.”  (You get the idea.) When he signed the bill Johnson was anachronistic but firm when he affirmed: We believe all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty.”

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them~~ Albert Einstein