On January 27, 2017 the current President of the United States issued an executive order effectively banning the citizens of 7 predominately Muslim countries from entering the country. As a tribute to the Muslim Ban, and part of an active effort to promote filmmakers and perspectives from the effected countries, Filmatique is hosting a Banned Nations Series during the month of March. To humanize perspectives from these countries— Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Sudan— is the only way to combat prejudice.
Filmatique is also releasing a collection of shorts from the Seven Nations, which are available to stream for free.
Silvered Water: Syria Self Portrait, Ossama Mohammed & Wiam Simav Bedirxan / Syria, 2014
Silvered Water chronicles the siege of Homs, an early battle in Syria's then-nascent civil war. More than mere documentary, Silvered Water functions as a mise-en-abîme of the Syrian experience itself. The film's structure reflects the fragmented nature of existence inside the regime— equally, of life in exile. These obstacles dictate the form of Silvered Water which, in addition to Bedirxan's footage, is comprised of thousands of clips sourced from average people on cell-phones. Silvered Water: Syria Self-Portrait premiered in the Official Selection of Cannes, and won prizes including Best Documentary at London, Turin, and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival.
Today, Reza Mirkarimi / Iran, 2015
By plucking two ordinary citizens from the streets of Tehran, Iranian filmmaker Reza Mirkarimi weaves a powerful social allegory from the most essential of ingredients. Today premiered at Toronto; Dhaka, where it won Best Feature; Granada, where it won the Audience Award; and Tallinn Black Nights, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize. A bold voice in contemporary Iranian cinema, Mirkarimi's Today was selected as Iran's official submission to the 87th Academy Awards, the third time he has received the honor.
Memories on Stone, Shawkat Amin Korki / Iraqi Kurdistan, 2014
Marbled with absurdist humor, Iraqi filmmaker Shawkat Amin Korki's third feature is a sophisticated meditation on the act of filmmaking as both a political exercise and means of resistance. Memories on Stone won Best Film at both Abu Dhabi and Antalya, and the Jury Prize at RiverRun, and was selected as the Iraqi entry for Best Foreign Language Film at 88th Academy Awards.
Madina's Dream, Andrew Berends / Sudan, 2015
Weaving quotidian details with geopolitical commentary both vast and subtle, Madina's Dream offers a perspective inside the Yida refugee camp high in Sudan's Nuba Mountains, that expands into panorama of the little-seen war between Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the Sudan People's Liberation Army. Andrew Berends' fifth film premiered at SXSW, and won Best Documentary at both Anchorage and Rhode Island, and the Resistencia Award at the International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City.
Socotra, the Island of Djinns by Jordi Esteva / Yemen, 2014
Shot in luminous black and white, and laced with ethnographic detail, Jordi Esteva's documentary reveals the mythologies and rhythms of a vanishing world. Socotra, the Island of Djinns examines an isolated island off the coast of Yemen and is the first and only film spoken entirely in Soqotri, a Southern-Arabian language derived from the old language of the Kingdom of Sheba. Socotra, the Island of Djinns premiered at Valletta, Vienna and Documenta Madrid.
Banned Nations Shorts & Docs: Program 1
Facets of life including education, the media, expatriation and the way we dress all inform perspectives from South Sudan, Iraq, Iran and Libya. The first installment of Filmatique's Banned Nations Shorts & Docs Program is available to watch here, for free.
Banned Nations Shorts & Docs: Program 2
Filmatique presents Iranian filmmaker Yaser Talebi's feature-length documentary, The Descendants.
Banned Nations Shorts & Docs: Program 3
The third installment of Filmatique's Banned Nations Shorts Program is devoted entirely to Syria. Contemporary life inside the besieged nation is chronicled from six disparate perspectives, using both experimental and narrative techniques.
Curation by Ursula Grisham
Head Curator of Filmatique