Two film series designed to get people talking about intercultural and international relations are planned as part of the celebration of the theme “Fostering Dialogue: Civil Discourse in an Academic Community” at Wake Forest University this academic year.
The first film and discussion series titled “Gender, Identity and Social Change in Moroccan Film” brings a total of six films to Pugh Auditorium in the university’s Benson University Center starting Sept. 16 and continuing through Nov. 18. The films presented during the series are free and open to the public and start at 7 p.m. A post-film discussion led by members of the university faculty will follow each of the films.
Michaelle Browers, an organizer of the film and discussion series and an assistant professor of political science at Wake Forest, said she chose Moroccan films as a way to focus attention on the Middle East since it is a major focus of U.S. policy at this time in history.
“We thought that films might be a good way to address the Middle East because in times of war and with a lot of contention over the process of going to that war and the conduct of that war, it can often prove difficult to have a real dialogue about the region and its interactions with other parts of the world,” Browers said. “Film has an amazing ability to put a human face on conflicts. It shows that you are not only dealing with governments, but also with human beings.”
A Web site for the Moroccan film and discussion series has been launched at http://www.wfu.edu/academics/politics/POLMovie/.
The second film series planned for the theme year is the “2003 Asian-American Documentary Film Festival,” which offers four film and discussion programs, featuring a total of nine films in the month of October. All film festival programs are open to the public and free for students. There is a $3 charge for university faculty, staff and the public. All festival events start at 7 p.m. at Reynolda House, Museum of American Art.
David Phillips, associate professor and coordinator for the program in East Asian Languages and Literatures, chose the nine films that will be shown during the Asian-American film festival, and he said the documentaries offer viewers an opportunity to learn more about the role of Asian-Americans in the community.
“This film festival adds to the theme year the voice of Asian Americans, not just as one group, but as many groups, each with their own heritage and culture,” Phillips said. “There really are not many opportunities to learn about Asian-American cultures locally, so I just saw this theme year as a valuable chance to provide some exposure.”
The film festival also offers several panel discussions with participants from the Wake Forest community and the larger outside community. The third program, scheduled for Oct. 20, brings filmmaker Louise Lo from KQED public television station in San Francisco to Reynolda House to give an introduction before the showing of her 2001 documentary “The Floating World: Masami Teraoka and His Art.”
Both film series are sponsored and funded by the theme year committee. For more information on the theme year and a complete calendar of events, please visit the Web site for the year at http://themeyear.wfu.edu/.
“Fostering Dialogue: Civil Discourse in an Academic Community” is the first of two theme years to be funded through a $1.9 million grant from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis. The grant, awarded to Wake Forest in 2001, is also being used to support a center for vocational exploration for undergraduate students for five years at Wake Forest. The Pro Humanitate Center opened in 2002 and offers programs designed to encourage students to explore the nature of vocation as they consider possible careers, including the ministry.
Gender, Identity and Social Change in Moroccan Film
“In My Father’s House” (1997 documentary, 67 min., subtitles). Moroccan filmmaker Fatima Jebli Ouazzani investigates the status accorded women in Islamic marriage customs and the continuing importance of virginity. There will be a post-film discussion on the topic of women and social change in Islamic contexts led by Mary Dalton, assistant professor of communication, and Felizitas Opwis, an adjunct professor in the religion department. 7 p.m. Free. Pugh Auditorium in Benson University Center. For information, call 336-758-4696.
“Boujad: A Nest in the Heat” and “Whispers” (Two films by Hakim Belabbes, 1992/1999, 45 min/15 min, subtitles). “Boujad: A Nest in the Heat” is a personal look at issues of separation, independence and return. “Whispers” follows a man’s search for his lost childhood. There will be a post-film discussion on the topics of family relationships, aging and individuals crossing cultures led by Teresa Ciabattari, assistant professor of sociology, and Ulrike Wiethaus, professor of humanities. 7 p.m. Free. Pugh Auditorium in Benson University Center. For information, call 336-758-4696.
“Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets” (2000 feature, 90 min., subtitles). Director Nabil Ayouch depicts the lives of street kids living in Casablanca’s abandoned lots. The film has won more than 40 international film festival awards. There will be a post-film discussion on the topics of adolescence, poverty and imagined home places led by Michaelle Browers, assistant professor of political science, and Batja Mesquita, associate professor of psychology. 7 p.m. Free. Pugh Auditorium in Benson University Center. For information, call 336-758-4696.
“Women’s Wiles (Kayd insa’)” (Farida Benlyazid’s 1999 feature, 90 min., subtitles). Based on a traditional folk tale of Andalusia, “Women’s Wiles” tells the story of Lalla Aicha, a young woman who has learned to read and to write from her father. There will be a post-film discussion on the topics of gender relations and stories shared across cultures led by Lisa Sternlieb, associate professor of English, and Cynthia Villagomez, assistant professor of history. 7 p.m. Free. Pugh Auditorium in Benson University Center. For information, call 336-758-4696.
“Door to the Sky (Bab al-sama’ maftuh)” (Farida Benlyazid’s 1988 feature, 105 min., subtitles). “Door to the Sky” is a Sufi tale told in a metaphoric language. It is also the first North African film to address the social and economic changes as proposed by a spiritual Muslim woman on a quest to preserve her cultural and religious identity. There will be a post-film discussion on the role of women’s religious and cultural spaces in identity formation and change. The discussion will be led by Stephen Boyd, professor of religion, and Bashir El-Beshti, associate professor of English. 7 p.m. Free. Pugh Auditorium in Benson University Center. For information, call 336-758-4696.
“Home, or Maids in My Family” (Yto Barrada’s 2001 documentary, 25 min., subtitles). Filmmaker Yto Barrada confronts her family and their servants about the relationships between them, and what these relationships may reveal about Moroccan society and her own life. There will be a post-film discussion on women and work, class politics and intergenerational change lead by Katy Harriger, professor of political science, and Angela Hattery, assistant professor of sociology. 7 p.m. Free. Pugh Auditorium in Benson University Center. For information, call 336-758-4696.
2003 Asian-American Documentary Film Festival
The Japanese-American Community: Prewar and Beyond
“Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray,” “Words, Weaving and Songs,” and “Moving Memories” (Three films by Robert Nakamura, 2001/2002/1993, 28 min./34 min./31 min.). “Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray” presents the photos of Toyo Miyatake, a renowned Los Angeles studio photographer, for the first time since the photos were exhibited in the 1920s and 30s. “Words, Weaving and Songs” presents the story of three teen-age girls, living as U.S. citizens in Los Angeles in 1942, who were sent to concentration camps in remote parts of the country. “Moving Memories” is a journey into Japanese-American life in the 1920s and 30s, featuring restored and edited home movies taken by Japanese-American immigrant pioneers. A panel discussion with a group of Japanese-American students and residents will follow the film. 7 p.m. Free for Wake Forest students, $3 for faculty, staff and the public. Reynolda House, Museum of American Art. For information, call 336-758-5150.
“Red White Blue November” (Saidah Said and Sapana Sakya’s 1998 documentary, 29 min.). The film explores a Laotian family’s frustrations and successes in becoming American. “Between Two Worlds: The Hmong Shaman in America” (Taggart Siegel’s 1998 documentary, 30 min.). The video documentary captures rare and dramatic footage of Hmong refugees from agrarian mountain villages in Laos buying and sacrificing a cow in rural Illinois, and a missionary trying to convert a traditional Hmong family. The film shows a people caught between two worlds. “Me, Mom and Mona” (Mina Shum’s 1993 documentary, 20 min.). The documentary depicts a Chinese woman’s dealings with her daughters who were not born in her native country. 7 p.m. Free for Wake Forest students, $3 for faculty, staff and the public. Reynolda House, Museum of American Art. For information, call 336-758-5150.
Asian-American Art and Filmmaking
“The Floating World: Masami Teraoka and His Art” (2001 documentary, 56 min.). The film offers an introduction to the art of contemporary Japanese-American artist Masami Teraoka. Teraoka uses art to critically analyze differences between Japan, the place of his origin, and the United States, his chosen home. There will be an introduction by the film’s director, Louise Lo. A discussion and reception will follow. 7 p.m. Free for Wake Forest students, $3 for faculty, staff and the public. Reynolda House, Museum of American Art. For information, call 336-758-5150.
Asian-Americans in the New South and New York
“Displaced in the New South” (David Zeiger and Eric Mofford’s 1996 documentary, 57 min.). The documentary explores the cultural collision between Asian immigrants and the suburban communities near Atlanta in which they settle. “Desi: South Asians in New York” (Shebana Coelho and Skjalg Molvaer’s 2000 documentary, 58 min.). The film is a tribute to the 200,000 South Asians living in New York City. South Asians refers to a group that includes Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Nepalese, among others. A panel discussion with students and members of the local community will follow. 7 p.m. Free for Wake Forest students, $3 for faculty, staff and the public. Reynolda House Museum of American Art. For information, call 336-758-5150.
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