Lanesboro Arts and the Iraqi-American Reconciliation Project presents a screening of eight short films from “Iraqi Voices,” an ongoing collaborative mentorship program that gives Iraqis in Minnesota support and training to produce high-quality documentaries, at the St. Mane Theatre on Saturday, February 3rd at 1:00 p.m. The films were written and directed by Iraqi refugee and Iraqi-American participants and are photographed and edited by Nathan Fisher. The screening of this 60 minute film set is happening in conjunction with a cross-cultural storytelling workshop with Nathan Fisher and six Iraqi-Minnesotan filmmakers, that morning at 10:30 a.m. and a screening of films presented by Frozen River Film Festival in the evening at 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
“Iraqi Voices” dismantles caricatures of Iraqis and Muslims in the United States: an Iraqi-American sculptor rebuilds what extremists have destroyed, Muslims pray at a Catholic church in Minneapolis, refugees own a St. Paul neighborhood grocery, and a public school administrator becomes the first Muslim woman to win an election in Minnesota. The short documentary films are written and directed by Iraqi refugees in Minnesota as part of a collaborative art lab called “Iraqi Voices.” Since 2012, filmmaker Nathan Fisher has been working with Minnesota-based Iraqi refugees to transform their immigration stories into documentary shorts. “Iraqi Voices”, the fourteenth in the series, presents an alternative to fearful and inaccurate depictions of Middle Eastern refugees. As the films show, Iraqis are already part of the fabric of Minnesota life, contributing to American society as small business owners, artists, and public servants. One of the films, “Our Iraq,” begins with a sweeping history of ethnic and religious coexistence in the cradle of civilization. Thousands of years before the founding of the United States, the Fertile Crescent has endured as an original “melting pot.”
A discussion and Q&A will take place following the film set with Nathan Fisher and six “Iraqi Voices” filmmakers: Jamal Ali, Jameela Hasoon, Ali Alshammaa, Ghazwan K. Khalid, Randa Khalid, and Nadia Saleem.
2018 “Iraqi Voices” Film Selections
The Barbershop (6 minutes / 2014)
Directed by: Zaid Alshammaa with Jamal Ali and Nathan Fisher
As he gets a haircut on a summer Sunday afternoon in suburban Minneapolis, a young Iraqi man recalls a traumatic experience from his childhood.
That’s What We Hear on the News (5 minutes / 2014)
Directed by: Jamal Ali with Nathan Fisher
An Iraqi engineer compares his experiences as a student in Oklahoma in the late 1970s with being a refugee in Minnesota thirty years later.
The Actor (7 minutes / 2015)
Directed by: Adnan Shati with Yahya Ebrahem and Nathan Fisher
An Iraqi actor discusses the Friday demonstrations in Baghdad.
Stealth Pathogen (9 minutes / 2015)
Directed by: Nathan Fisher with Adnan Shati, Dr. Azur Maluki, Ishaq Maluki
An Iraqi physician is in Minnesota on a one-year research fellowship while his colleagues are being systematically assassinated back home.
The Fifty Generation (7 minutes / 2014)
Directed by: Ali Alshammaa with Nathan Fisher
A man born in Iraq in the 1950s reflects on a life in exile.
Our Iraq (15 minutes / 2016)
Directed by Jamal Ali and Amel Al-Sammarraie with Nathan Fisher
Our Iraq dismantles caricatures of Iraqis and Muslims in the United States. In the film, an Iraqi American sculptor rebuilds what extremists have destroyed, Muslims pray at a Catholic church in Minneapolis, refugees own a St. Paul neighborhood grocery, and a public school administrator becomes the first Muslim woman to win an election in Minnesota.
Alice’s Story (5 minutes / 2012)
Directed by Alice with Nathan Fisher
A university-aged PTSD survivor from Iraq is about to begin medical school in the United States. She asks: what is more American than the freedom of speech?
Naser’s Story (4 minutes / 2012)
Directed by Naser Ameen with Nathan Fisher
A young man who just moved to the United States talks about stereotypes that he had about Americans, and that Americans have about him.
“Iraqi Voices” is a program of the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project (IARP) a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis that facilitates artistic and cultural dialogue between Iraqis and Americans. IARP presents authentic Iraqi and American voices to counter negative stereotypes, build mutual understanding and respect, and provide a platform for dialogue (reconciliationproject.org).
Nathan Fisher is the creative director of Northern Monday Films. He has an MA in Media Studies with an emphasis in documentary video production from the New School for Public Engagement. He is the director of The Unreturned (2010), an award-winning feature-length documentary shot in Syria and Jordan. Since 2012, he has been working with the local Twin Cities Iraqi community to produce a series of short documentary films.
Jamal Ali is from Baghdad. He graduated from Spartan College of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1979 and had a career as an aircraft maintenance engineer for Iraqi Airways. His wife, an anesthesiologist, and two children fled to Minneapolis in 2009. Jamal now lives in Spring Lake Park and works as an interpreter. He has been a part of the Iraqi Voices project since 2012.
Jameelah Hassoun is an anesthesiologist who worked in the medical field in Iraq for more than twenty years. She came to Minnesota in 2009 with her husband and two children. She now lives in Spring Lake Park and works as a medical interpreter.
Ali Alshammaa is a civil engineer born and raised in Iraq. He left for Kuwait during the Iran-Iraq War and after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, he fled once again to Jordan. He moved back to Iraq after the 2003 United States invasion. He lives in Fridley with his family.
Ghazwan K. Khalid and Randa Khalid are dairy producers from Ramadi, Iraq. They moved to Minnesota with their two children in 2010. They own the Minnehaha Food Market in St. Paul and hope to open an Iraqi sweet shop in the near future.
Nadia Saleem is Palestinian and grew up in Iraq. She moved to Minnesota in 2010 with her family. She now works as an interpreter.
- The St. Mane Theatre box office will open at 12:00 p.m. the day of the screening. Remaining tickets will be sold in-person beginning at that time.
- If you are unable to buy tickets online or need additional assistance, you may try calling 507-467-2446 to purchase tickets over the phone during business hours.
- We will have a list of the names of ticket buyers at the box office beginning at 12:00 p.m. If the ticket buyer and their guests arrive together, no physical receipt or proof of purchase is needed in order to be admitted to the event–we will have a list!
- Alternatively, attendees can also present a printed copy of the Eventbrite ticket PDF the ticket buyer was sent or simply pull it up and present it on a smart device.
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