The Middle Eastern Film Club (MEFC) was launched by Ruth Priscilla Kirstein in 2013. Participants actively immerse themselves in the films' language, music, imagery and acting technique and discover how styles are interconnected. The participants often know about the community where the film was made. Their presence and insights are at the heart of the program. Locations vary: One month we may be at the Turkish Cultural Center to work on a Kurdish film, another month we will meet at the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU, a co-sponsor of the event. Past sessions have been devoted to Iranian, Palestinian, Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish films. The current series will focus on the Middle Eastern diaspora, as well as on new work by New York City moviemakers.
As state film tax credit programs offer advantageous work conditions for US and international productions and create a significant number of new local job opportunities, the MEFC provides a continuous forum to connect the mainstream with the independent film market, as well as providing interdisciplinary training for actors, writers, composers, designers, technicians, producers, journalists, academics, casting directors, agents, distributors and policy makers. Not to mention the work on growing audiences! The group is particularly attentive to the role women play both behind and in front of the camera and aims to diversify the representation of women in film, new media and TV. The MEFC 's objective is to create opportunities for a highly skilled group of local media professionals who have largely been off the radar of the mainstream US film market.
"There is nothing better than to combine excellent film choices with genuine human interaction. At the Middle East Film Club, Ruth Kirstein screens masterpieces that offer an artistic taste of culture followed by a group discussion before which everyone introduces themselves. The ensuing debate is warm and fun. This film club is a sure pleaser, and educator, for anyone interested in both or either of films and the Middle East. What the curator and facilitator accomplishes with this format is very precious. She bridges the gap between film markets and provides NYC filmmakers and film lovers with access to a very personal experience of Middle Eastern films. Unlike festivals and other screenings, this is a participatory approach to viewing. Rather than focus on speakers and directors, the Middle East Film Club focuses on us. It's a viewer-centered experience that is extremely refreshing."
-Mostafa Hashish, United Nations Interpreter
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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Jun. 12, 2014