Kamal Aljafari


Kamal Aljafari is an internationally recognized filmmaker whose work searches for home while also questioning the boundaries between “documentary” and “fiction.” His portfolio includes Port of Memory(2009), The Roof (2006), Visit Iraq (2003) and My Father’s Video (2009). 


Blending a potent mix of personal ethics, transnational politics, and video and film aesthetics, Aljafari reinvents the long take, the slow tracking shot through space, and widescreen mise-en scene-once keynotes of European art cinema-in films where time and place take precedence over story and character. Aljafari’s films represent a new kind of domestic ethnography-“home movies” in which his family members come to represent all who wait, survivors of a decimated nation, forever looking for what has vanished, confined to an ever eroding domestic orbit, in a war with no end in sight.

Aljafari studied theater at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and earned a master’s degree in film at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany. Before joining the New School, he was a Film Study Center Fellow and Benjamin White Whitney Scholar at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute (2009-2010) where he worked on an interdisciplinary media project titled “A Cinematic Occupation”. Aljafari has been a guest lecturer at UC/Berkeley, California Collage of the Arts, University of California Santa Cruz, Harvard University, and The New School. His awards include Best International Video at The Images Festival in Toronto, Soundtrack award Fidmarseille film festival, Marseille France, and the Friedrich-Vordemberge Visual Art Prize of the City of Cologne. He has received grants from the Sundance Documentary Fund, Filmstiftung, Kunstfonds, Kunststiftung in Germany and Fonds Sud Cinema in France. Most recently his new work, Port of Memory, was awarded The Louis Marcorelles Award by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs.