Sunday, November 18, 2007

2 films on contemporary Islamic life in the U.S.A.,December 13

The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival Underground Railroad Film Series presents two films about aspects of contemporary Muslim-American life: COVERED GIRLS and ISLAM BEHIND BARS

7:00 P.M. Thursday, December 13 at Central Cinema - $5.00

1411 21st Avenue, Seattle 98122 / (206) 328-3230 / For show information & updates, call the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival phone info line: (206)326-1088

Covered Girls

A film by Janet McIntyre and Amy Wendel. 22 min.

Muslim-American girls are lively and full of fun -- despite wearing the traditional 'hijab'. How do they fare after 9/11?

Have you ever seen Muslim-American high school girls in full-length dresses and traditional hijabs (head scarves) playing full-court basketball? Prior to 9/11, the average Westerner had little more than one-dimensional views of Islam and Muslim women. Covered Girls opens a window into the lives of a colorful and startling group of Muslim-American teenage girls in New York and challenges the stereotypes many Americans may have about this culture.

The film documents the daily experience of Kiren who coaches her high school basketball team, Amnah who has a black belt in Karate, and Tavasha who is cutting a CD of original rap songs. Their traditional clothing allows them to understand prejudices and to speak out about their faith, especially after 9/11, when people spat upon, pushed and threatened them. They are quite happy that their dress allows men to look at them as people instead of as sex objects. The film follows the girls from a Harlem recording studio to a Brooklyn mosque, revealing typical teenagers suddenly caught in a tug-of-war between religious extremism and the American dream.

"Excellent Outreach tool" - Middle East Studies Association

"By depicting the girls in their full-length dresses and hijabs behaving just like teens in western clothing, the film gently reminds us to observe the adage about not judging a book by its cover. The voices we hear are casual, straightforward and heartfelt The background rap music fits well into the black and white urban scene. This short film is an excellent choice for a discussion about bigotry amongst teenagers. Recommended'

Homa Naficy, Hartford Public Library, Hartford, CT for EMRO

National Women's Studies Association, 2004
Best Short Documentary, Nashville Independent Film Festival, 2003
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2003
Official Selection, Walker Art Center's Women with Vision Film Festival, 2003
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, 2003

Islam Behind Bars

Written and Directed by John Curtin & Paul Carvalho
Produced by Kaos Productions Inc. 58 min.

No religion is growing faster in Western prisons than Islam. In the United States alone, there are more than 200,000 Muslim inmates. They are mainly Black converts searching for an alternative to Christianity, which many reject as the slave-master's faith. Islam Behind Bars takes an unflinching look at the disruptive power of poisonous religious demagoguery, but also leaves the viewer with a better understanding of an intriguing new fact of the Black experience in the West.

The prisoners follow a path first made famous by Malcolm X, who went to jail for pimping and petty theft and came out a fiery Muslim preacher. He had discovered a strict religion which could bring discipline and dignity to men whose lives had been devastated by violence and drugs.

In the aftermath of September 11th, authorities fear that terrorist organizations may recruit Muslim prison converts to attack the West. Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber” was probably recruited while in a British prison. The film shows that there are some imprisoned Muslims who find peace and a respect for all of God’s creations in their new faith, and others who direct their anger at the West.

For show information & updates, call the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival phone info line: (206)326-1088