Alwan 3rd i Awards: Finalists Screening & Awards Presentation

Wed, February 25, 2015 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at Alwan

The Alwan 3rd i Awards Competition aims to present the very best in recent short films and video art that increase awareness of the creative vitality and sociopolitical realities of the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Central Asia, as well as their global diasporas.

Join us at Alwan to view the awards committee's selection and awards presentation, followed by a post-screening discussion aimed at providing artists the benefit of feedback from the audience Alwan and 3rd i NY have cultivated over the years.


130 km to Heaven by Khaled Khella
Beit Iksa Boys by Maeve Brennan
Last Ditch by Mahi Bena
The Visit by Liva Dudareva
Departures by Wissam Tanios
Aswat (Voices) by Hussain Alriffaei


Khalid's Camel by Brian Zegeer
Sophie's Closet by Stéphanie Ghazal
Around a Table by Parissa Mohit
Story of A Curse #1 by Negin Sharifzadeh-Moss
Here and Elsewhere by Hira Nabi
I am alive by Khadija Baker
Fortune by Vandana Jain
Emily and Anmer by Aindri Chakraborty

$1000: Best Narrative/Documentary Film
$1000: Best Video Art Production
$500: Alwan 3rd i Audience Award

Voting for the Audience Award will take place during screenings.

Admission: $5-$10 Suggested Contribution
(No one is turned away!)

The Alwan 3rd i Awards Competition aims to present the very best in recent short films and video art that increase awareness of the creative vitality and sociopolitical realities of the Middle East, North Africa and South and Central Asia as well as their global diasporas.



by Khaled Khella
13'00" | Egypt | 2014
Arabic with English Subtitles

An aspirational young man leaves his hometown for the first time, following his bestfriend on the road in an attempt to turn their life around.

Script/Director: Khaled Khella
Director of Photography: Khaled Kamel
Assistant Director: Muhammed Abd El-Hakim
Sound: Ahmed Nabil
Editing: Bahaa El-Gamal
Cast: Khaled Khella, Mohammed El-Gharib, Kalabala

Born in Cairo, Khaled Khella is a self-taught filmmaker who learned the art by reading and watching films in order to be able to tell his stories using cinematic tools. Today, Khella has become one of the promising indie-filmmakers in Egypt. His work aims to embody and present the suffering of the poor and the marginalized effectively through his footage.

by Maeve Brennan
8'00" | Palestine | 2013
Arabic with English Subtitles

A fragmentary account of a journey through Jerusalem Stone quarries, Beit Iksa Boys indirectly explores the complex role of land, stone and resources in the West Bank. With a focus on personal encounters, the human scale of such monumental forces is made visible.

Screening history/awards: Beit Iksa Boys, The Institute of Jamais Vu, London, 2013 (The Institute of Jamais Vu); 2013, Nicolas and Andrei Tooth Travel Award,Goldsmiths, University of London, 2013.

Maeve Brennan (b.1990, London) is a visual artist working in video and installation currently based in Beirut.

LAST DITCH by Mahi Bena
18' | France | 2013
Arabic/French with English Subtitles

Slimane leaves the foreign students' office. He comes to learn that the renewal his residence permit has been refused. His friend, Mehdi, has a solution: a marriage of convenience. But in return, Slimane must agree to work with him in his illegal business to repay what this wedding will cost. Slimane refuses, at first, but when he sees his situation worsening, he begins to have doubts about these convictions. Will he yield to temptation?

Writer/Directer/Producer: Mahi Bena
Direcor Of Photography: Olivier Guerbois
Editor: Stratos Gabrielidis
Sound: Yves Bagot/Nicolas Titeux

Screening history/awards: Days Of Shorts and Documentary, December 2013; Mostaganem, Algeria, Special Mention Of Jury; Mumbai International Shorts, December 2013, Special Mention; London Film Awards, December 2013, Best Director Award; Rated Socially Relevant Film Festival, March 2014, Winner of Best Trailer Award; WorldFest Houston| Inter’Indie Film Fest, April 2014, Bronze Remi for Original Dramatic Short.

Born and raised in Algeria, Mahieddine Benabed (Mahi Bena) was passionate about film from a young age. He moved to France on November 12, 2001, where he took courses in screenwriting. He has written many short films, Boomerang: The Short, The Third Voice, The Escort, A Patriot, Who Wins Loses ... and, most recently Last-Ditch. Today, Bena is working on an ambitious project entitled, Ambush: Chronicles of an Unnamed War, about the bloody conflict plaguing Algeria for the past two decades. The film chronicles the experience of a platoon of soldiers over two weeks during a sweep operation in the mountains of western Algeria.

by Liva Dudareva and Eduardo Cassina
8'33" | Lebanon | 2014
Arabic with English subtitles

The Visit conceptualises the mountain village of Meziara as a suburb of an invisible city. The incredibly wealthy settlement owes its present shape to the remittances of villagers that migrated to Brazil, Benin, and Nigeria over the past century. It is precisely in this transnational set of networks that this urban specimen is configured.

Directors: Liva Dudareva and Eduardo Cassina
Camera and Photography: Liva Dudareva and Eduardo Cassina
Music: Marius Saliba
Narrator: Anita Abdel Ahad
Translation: Amanda Abi Khalil
Film by Metasitu

Screening history/awards: 2014 Lighthouse Gallery, Glasgow

METASITU was founded in early 2014 by Eduardo Cassina and Liva Dudareva. Born with the goal of expanding the discussions surrounding the inhabitation of the territory to different and wider audiences, at METASITU we look for means of storytelling that reveal our urban investigation through different prisms.

Liva Dudareva (Jelgava/Latvia, 1984) was trained as a landscape architect in Latvia and Sweden, before moving to London to work as a researcher at CHORA. She then continued her studies in landscape architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art, before joining the award-winning landscape architecture firm Gross.Max in Scotland. She then moved to Moscow where she co-founded METASITU, an art collective and urban consultancy devoted to the exploration of future tactics.

Eduardo Cassina (Móstoles/Spain, 1986) is an architect and urban sociologist trained in the United Kingdom, Portugal, The Netherlands and China. He has worked as a researcher and exhibition designer for the Guggenheim museums in Venice and New York, as well as for the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi). After working as an urban researcher for Goldsmiths, he moved to Moscow to join the Strelka Institute, where he continued his exploration of representation of urban data in new and innovative ways. In 2014 he co-founded METASITU.

DEPARTURES by Wissam Tanios
15'7"| Lebanon | 2013
Arabic with English Subtitles

Walid is conflicted about leaving the country for a better job abroad, due to his friend’s Omar intrusive visit at his family home.

Cast: Walid Khoury, Hiam Abou Shedid, Malek Rizkallah, Julia El Rami, Andrea Maydah
Director: Wissam Tanios
Director of Photography: Fadi El Samra
Producers: Ghida Mahfouz, Rita Khoury
Editors: Perla Kherlakian, Fadi El Samra
Sound Editing and Mixing: Marie Lynn Nasrallah

Screening history/awards: MedFilm Festival, Rome - June 2013; FID Campus Marseille - July 2013; Lebanese Film Festival Sydney - August 2013; 20th Adana Golden Boll Film Festival, Turkey - September 2013; Beirut Int’ Film Festival, Lebanon - October 2013; Original Narrative Film Festival, Dubai - February 2014.

Born on the 4th of November 1989 in Beirut, Wissam Tanios developed a passion for acting and movies at a young age. He began his studies in 2008 at IESAV majoring in cinema. Being faithful to his love for the arts, he appeared in several TV commercials and a few theatrical productions. Cinema that tackles subjects like family, detachment and relationships is his favorite. His sister Carla remains his source of inspiration. His documentary “Aftermath” won Best Documentary at the 10th Lebanese Film Festival in 2012. It was also selected for five different international and local film festivals around the world, including the Oriental film Festival at Geneva. "Departures" is his second short film.

VOICES (Aswat) by Hussain AlRiffaei
3'45"| Bahrain | 2012

An old woman, physically present in her life, does her daily duties in a monotonous way, but spiritually, lives in another reality.

Written, Produced & Directed by Hussain AlRiffaei
Cast: Shafeeka Yousif
Director of photography: Mazen Adel
Lighting: Jaffar Mohammed
Sound: K.K.Jose
Make up: Yasser Saif
Production Coordinator: Saleh AlDhaan
Technical Services: Home Art Productions, Ad Mark Productions
Sound Mix: Nader Ameeruldeen
Editing: Mohammed Yehia

Screening history/awards:
Gulf film festival – Dubai 2012; Lucerne International Film Festival – Switzerland 2012; Award of Merit, London Lift-Off Film Festival – London 2012; Ionian International Digital Film Festival – Greece 2012, Award: Best Director; The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival – California 2012, Award: Best Short Film “Diamond”; European independent Film Festival – Paris 2012, Award: Best Editing; Byron Bay International Film Festival – Australia 2013; GCC Film Festival – Kuwait 2013; The Pineapple Underground Film Festival – Hong Kong 2013; Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival California 2013; Cabriolet Film Festival – Lebanon 2013; European independent Film Festival – Barcelona 2013; International Film Awards Berlin – Aug 2013; Award: Best Super short film, Clare Valley Film Festival – Australia 2013, Award: Audience Choice Award; National Unity International Film Festival – Bahrain 2014; Arab Film Festival Berlin – March 2014; Cross Roads USA - May 2014

Hussain AlRiffaei has worked in many theatrical, TV and film productions as an actor and assistant director in Bahrain and throughout the Arab region. He has written two short films: There (2011) and Voices (2012), and produced and directed four short films: A Dinner (2008), The Cage (2009), There (2011) and Voices (2012).


by Brian Zegeer
2'30" | USA | 2014

Khalid's Camel
recounts an episode from Ameen Rihani's 1911 novel, The Book of Khalid,
visualizing the protagonist's efforts to raise money for sea passage to America as a progressive metamorphosis that speaks to contemporaneous European models of spiritual and societal evolution, and the fraught process of identity construction for first-generation immigrants.

Brian Zegeer was born in Lexington, KY. His works encounter the Appalachian and Lebanese landscapes of his parentage as highly­ charged networks of affiliation and group narrative. Zegeer believes that the process of stop­motion animation can catalyze objects in the landscape to reveal their metaphoric, political, and forensic content­the ghosts of their obscure histories. In 2015, at the Queens Museum, Zegeer will stage the Little Syria Archive, a collection of historical artifacts, stereoscopic 3D animations, and public encounters transcribing the history and notable luminaries of New York’s first Arabic enclave. Zegeer also co­hosts the interview­based radio program I Ran into Iran (Creativetime Reports, ResonanceFM, London). He received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, attended Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in 2010, and has recently shown at The Queens Museum, The Delaware Art Museum, The Jersey City Museum, Louis V. ESP, Regina Rex, Elga Wimmer Gallery, and Stephan Stoyanov Gallery.

SOPHIE'S CLOSET by Stéphanie Ghazal
17'| Lebanon/Denmark | 2014
Arabic, French with English Subtitles

When she’s away, I get trapped in a maze and there’s no way out. As much as I want to move, I eventually find myself staying here, waiting for her. There’s such a heavy stillness in between departures and returns…

Directed, photographed and edited by Stéphanie Ghazal, with Stéphanie Ghazal and Sophie Ghazal

Born in Beirut in 1985, architect and filmmaker Stéphanie Ghazal graduated from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA, Beirut, Lebanon) in 2009, with a Master's Degree in Architecture. Her final year project Un Observatoire sur la Ligne Verte -dealing with post-war recovery and memory-, was granted the Mitri Nammar Award, and was nominated for the Jaderji Award. She is doing a masters program in film research at the Institut d’Etudes Scéniques et Audiovisuelles (Beirut), where she works on the representation of post-war cities in cinema. She has developed a complex representation pattern that encompasses a multidisciplinary approach revolving around personal experiences, communal interactions and relationships with territory.
Stéphanie is currently working on her third short film, Notes on the Present (2015), a psychological sequel to The Unexpected Morning After (2014, 6:30min) and Sophie’s Closet (2014, 17min).

AUTOUR D'UNE TABLE (Around a Table) by Parissa Mohit
11' | Canda | 2013
French with English subtitles

A cup of coffee may unveil untold stories.

Screening history/awards:
Animated dreams animation film festival, Estonia, November 2014; Oaxaca Film festival, Mexico, October 2014; Dc shortfest, Washington DC, September 2014; Golden kuker animation film festival, Sofia, Bulgaria, May 2014; Les rendez-­-vous du cinéma Québécois, Montreal, Fébruary 2014

Parissa Mohit lives and works in Montréal, Canada. She studied theatre design for four years before continuing her exploration in film animation. Her experiences in set construction and theatre design have influenced her approach to film animation, where she builds her imaginary worlds in different scales. That is where she gives life to her films. In 2010, her film The Man and the Train won the Oboro George Laoun prize for the best short film. She was also a selected artist for the M.A.I. (Montreal Arts Interculturelles) long term mentorship in 2011, as well as the M.A.I. and PRIM residency in 2011 and 2012.

STORY OF A CURSE #1 by Negin Moss-Sharifzadeh
4'49" | USA | 2014

Story of a Curse #1 is inspired by Negin's mother's story of moving through loss and despair. Two weeks from her due date, she realized she would give birth to a still-born baby. Birth, a symbol of bringing new life, changed to delivering death into the world of the living. After almost nine months of waiting, all the dreams of becoming a mother were shattered. Preparing the baby's room, preparing herself for motherhood and the joy she would share with family and friends all disappeared inside a day. To soothe herself, she came to believe that she had been cursed and took the baby to the cemetery instead of home. Story of a Curse #1 deals with the dream of motherhood, the emotional bond between a baby in the womb and the mother, and the connection between the body of a baby developing inside the mother's body. It looks at the hopes carried by the promise of new life and hope, and grief as these are stolen.

Screening history/awards: Alexandria Museum of Art, Winners Exhibition, Louisiana LA; The Gateway Projects, Emerald City, Newark, NJ; and the Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts, LACDA


Negin Sharifzadeh is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer, and filmmaker based in New York. Growing up in Iran, one of the world’s most historically and socially complex regions, in the wake of revolution, she is fascinated by the mechanisms and interplay of different natural, emotional, and political systems. She has explored these themes through multiple mediums of drawing, sculpture, performance and more increasingly combining all through stop-motion animation. Sharifzadeh’s short animated film, Even Gray Feels Blue, has been featured in festivals, galleries, and museums around the world, receiving numerous awards in New York film festivals and Video art competitions. Sharifzadeh has had solo exhibitions and performances in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Sao Paulo, and Tehran, and has been part of numerous international group exhibitions. She received her BFA in Sculpture from Tehran University in Iran in 2002, and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Performing Arts in 2010.

7'42" | USA | 2014

A father writes a future letter to his daughter while filming her early childhood. Set in Portugal and Germany, in the early 90s, this short layers the personal and the political, weaving together the narratives of immigration, memory, political upheaval, and fatherhood.


Hira Nabi works with film, video, archival material, sound, and text to build layers of meaning out of every day events. She works with memory, nostalgia, and daily rituals as an aesthetic trope. Using the camera as a form of archiving, and as documentation of the continuous present, her work is experimental in its splicing of fiction and documentary. She is currently studying audio production, and researching cinematic spaces at the New School. She graduated from Hampshire College with a BA in video and post colonial theory. She is from Lahore, Pakistan and is an itinerant media artist. Her work has shown in New York, Havana, Mexico City, Karachi, and Lahore.

I AM ALIVE by Khadija Baker
5'29" | CANADA | 2014

I am alive was originally created to accompany the performance piece "don’t leave me I am alive". I am alive is a poetic experimental animation using cutting edges methods and illustration with human hair. The work involves narrative storytelling to create active spaces of empathy and greater understanding, with the goal of initiating discussion about the need for peace-making. The work aims to highlight the fact that although different groups in society may share similar exposure to violence, women and children are the most vulnerable and pay the highest price of conflict and war. The work depicts the story of a little girl, found alive after a chemical weapon attack that took place in Syria in 2013.

Screening history/awards: Instant Video Festival, France (2014); Part of Solo Show at 101 Gallery, Ottawa, Canada (2015).


Khadija Baker is a multidisciplinary artist who creates installations that combine video, digital art, sound and animation. Her work explores social and political themes related persecution, displacement and memory. Having worked with a variety of media such as painting, fibers, and video/moving images, her current research combines these practices to create intimate site-specific sculptural installation environments that engage the senses (sight, sound, and touch.) Her work breaches the divide between artist, art and public, creating an active space of participation, exchange, understanding and storytelling. She has received many awards and scholarships, including the Millennium Scholarship at Concordia University (2005 & 2006). Khadija has exhibited in cultural capitals such as Montreal, Toronto, New York, London, Berlin, Marseille, New Delhi, Beirut, and Damascus, and presented her work at the 18th Biennale in Sydney, Australia, 2012.

by Vandana Jain
3'34" | USA | 2012

Fortune 100 is a three-minute animation that features the top 100 global companies as rated by Fortune magazine in 2011. The Walmart starburst, Pemex eagle, and IBM logotype appear slowly on screen in order of rank, accompanied by a variety of open-source sounds, ranging from the industrial to the spiritual to the natural.

Screening history/awards: 2015: MONAFOMA Festival, Hobart, Tasmania; 2014: Patterns of Interaction, South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, NY, NY Screensavers: Travels in Sleep, BRIC, Brooklyn, NY; 2013: Quartair, Den Haag, Netherlands; Dakota Theater, Den Haag, Netherlands; tation Independent, NYC, NY; 2012: Lakeeren Gallery, Mumbai, India

Vandana Jain recontextualizes the rich visual symbolic language surrounding us to comment on capitalism, globalization, and consumerism. Jain has exhibited nationally and internationally, with special projects and solo exhibitions at Lakeeren Gallery in Mumbai, India, and Station Independent Projects, Smack Mellon and BRIC House in New York City. She has received several awards including the Emerging Artist’s Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency, and the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant. She is an active member of the Visual Arts Collective at ABC No Rio, an alternative community arts center in New York City. She is a founding member of artcodex, an artist collective fostering artistic community through travel, humor, and politics. Jain works out of Brooklyn, New York.

by Aindri Chakraborty in collaboration with Oisín Mac Aodha
4'56" | United Kingdom | 2013

On 4th June 1913, suffragette Emily Davison dies after colliding with King George's horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby. On 14th June 1913 a memorial service to Emily takes place at St. George's church in London. Specially made purple silk banners included Joan of Arc's last words: "Fight on and God will give the victory." The film attempts to reunite both Emily and Anmer within the walls of the church and tries to shed light on the spiritual significance of her martyrdom.

Screening history/awards: Wilding Festival, London 2013

Aindri Chakraborty is an animator and illustrator of Indian origin. Her hand drawn animations explore themes from our inner to surrounding environments. Her previous animation, "Our Oceans", voiced by oceanographer Sylvia Earle, looked at the damage caused by industrial fishing.

Oisín Mac Aodha is a research associate based in London. His work involves creating algorithms that help scientists extract information from large quantities of audio and visual data.


About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these filmmakers who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion.


3rdi NY Film Programming is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts, and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, both in partnership with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Alwan for the Arts hosts our monthly screenings series. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor


Alwan's programs are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council.


Last updated: 2015-02-02 08:49:48

Departures by Wissam Tanios
Departures by Wissam Tanios
Voices (Aswat) by Hussain AlRiffaei
Voices (Aswat) by Hussain AlRiffaei
Khalid's Camel by Brian Zegeer
Khalid's Camel by Brian Zegeer
Sophie's Closet by Stéphanie Ghazal
Sophie's Closet by Stéphanie Ghazal
Around a Table by Parissa Mohit
Around a Table by Parissa Mohit
Story of a Curse #1 by Negin Sharifzadeh-Moss
Story of a Curse #1 by Negin Sharifzadeh-Moss
Here and Elsewhere by Hira Nabi
Here and Elsewhere by Hira Nabi
I am alive by Khadija Baker
I am alive by Khadija Baker
Fortune by Vandana Jain
Fortune by Vandana Jain
Emily and Anmer by Aindri Chakraborty
Emily and Anmer by Aindri Chakraborty
Last Ditch by Mahi Bena
Last Ditch by Mahi Bena

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