Palestinian filmmaker Amer Shomali, visiting artist in residence at Columbia University, joining us from Ramallah, will screen his new critically acclaimed documentary, The Wanted 18. Followed by a discussion with James Schamus, Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia University School of the Arts.
The Wanted 18, co-directed with Canadian director Paul Cowan, is a powerful documentary about the efforts of the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour to establish an independent dairy industry during the First Intifada. The animated feature reveals how eighteen cows in the village of Beit Sahour became an inspiration and symbol of resistance during the first Palestinian Intifada. As the Israeli army searches for the illegal bovines, the story veers from comedy to drama to tragedy - with a large dose of the absurd. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The idea for The Wanted 18 began in Shomali's boyhood, spent largely at a Syrian refugee camp, where his main escape had been reading comic books, one of which dealt with the story of the Beit Sahour cows. The Wanted 18 was named Best Documentary from the Arab World at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Best Documentary at Carthage Film Festival. Tunis, 2014, and the Best Documentary at Traverse City Film Festival 2015.
Amer Shomali uses fine art, digital media and technology as sociopolitical tools for change. After studying at the Van Art School in Canada, he completed an MFA in Animation at Bournemouth, UK. One of the founders of Zan Studios in Ramallah, Amer works as an animator and illustrator of children's books, posters, and multimedia productions. His work has been exhibited in galleries across the Middle East and Europe. Amer's short film Dying of the Light was screened in the UK, Belgium, Lebanon, and Palestine. He was also co-director and animator of Animated Concerns, the animated TV series, in Palestine from 2006-2007.
Dr. James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm) and producer (Brokeback Mountain), and former CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company whose films have included Milk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Pianist, Coraline, and The Dallas Buyers Club. He is the author of Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud: The Moving Word, published by the University of Washington Press, and is currently working on another book, My Wife is a Terrorist: Lessons in Storytelling from the Department of Homeland Security, for Harvard University Press. He recently directed the short documentary That Film About Money and is making his feature directorial debut with his adaptation of Philip Roth's Indignation. He earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. in English from U.C. Berkeley.
School of the Arts.
Free and open to the public.
Wednesday November 11, 2015
3rd Floor Lecture Hall, Columbia Journalism School
2950 Broadway, at 116th Street