Visiting Directors Roundtable
+Free Food from Shish
Sunday, 10/1 at St Anthony Main Theatre
Join us in the Fireplace Grotto (across from Pracna Restaurant) for food provided by Shish Restaurant in St. Paul and a roundtable discussion with visiting filmmakers Magdi Ahmed Ali (The Preacher), Hisham Bizri (The Wanderer), Nasser Samara (The Candle) and Mahmood Soliman (We Have Never Been Kids), and moderators Mohannad Ghawanmeh and Linda Mokdad. And make sure to catch each of them for a Q&A after their film screens during the regular festival program.
Magdy Ahmed Ali graduated with a degree in pharmacy before becoming a filmmaker. He studied filmmaking at the Higher Institute of Cinema and worked closely with directors like Muhammad Khan, Khairy Beshara, and Youssef Chahine. In 1996, Ali directed his first film Ya Dunia Ya Gharami, which won the best film and best actress awards at the Montreal World Film Festival. Mawlana is his sixth feature film.
Hisham Bizri is a Lebanese American director, writer, and producer born in Beirut. He studied filmmaking at Harvard, in New York, and in Illinois. Bizri’s films have screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Villa Medici, the Beaux-Arts de Paris, the Cinema Days of Beirut, the Roma Contemporary Art Fair, the Louvre Museum, the Biennale Des Cinema Arabes, the Milan Film Festival, the Walker Art Center, the Institut du Monde Arabe, the Harvard Film Archives, the Reina Sofia, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Cinémathèque Française in Centre Pompidou, the Cairo Opera House, and Mizna’s Twin Cities Arab Film Festival. Bizri has served as a juror on a number of international film festivals including the Chicago International Film Festival. He has also served as a juror for the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival. He has been instrumental in establishing filmmaking at the Lebanese American University, the Korean National University, and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. He is also the co-founder of the Arab Institute of Film.
Nasser Samara graduated from UCLA with a degree in anthropology and women’s studies. As a queer Palestinian Mexican American, his multicultural upbringing informs his passion for stories that reflect the complexities of identity.
Mahmood Soliman graduated from the Cinema Institute in Cairo and has directed many short fiction and documentary films. We Have Never Been Kids, his first feature film, has won ten prizes and screened at numerous festivals around the world. Soliman is also a writer and he has published several social, political, and opinion pieces in Arabic newspapers. He has written three short story collections which have garnered multiple literary prizes.
Mohannad Ghawanmeh is a film scholar and cineaste. He has produced, acted in, curated for, written about, and lectured on film. His expertise is centered on Arab cinema, but thoroughly extends into silent cinema, non-fiction cinema, transnational cinema, religious cinema, and more. He co-founded and formerly directed Mizna’s Twin Cities Arab Film Festival and is an emeritus Mizna board member. Ghawanmeh is a PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies in the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also a 2017–18 fellow in the American Research Center in Egypt. His dissertation investigates the political economy of silent cinema in Egypt, 1896–1932. Mohannad Ghawanmeh’s Twitter
Linda Mokdad is an Assistant Professor of Film and English, and the Director of the Film Studies program at St. Olaf College. She is co-editor, with Corey Creekmur, of The International Film Musical (Edinburgh University Press, 2012) and is currently finishing a book on post-9/11 American cinema (under contract with Rutgers University Press). Her teaching and research topics are diverse, and include everything from classical Hollywood to world cinema.