HAMID DABASHI, Professor of Iranian Studies & Comparative Literature, Columbia University
HELGA TAWIL-SOURI, Professor of Media, Culture, & Communication, NYU
From Academy Award nominated director Julian Schnabel and based on the autobiographical novel of Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal, Miral tells the story of three generations of Palestinian women as they navigate the complexities of life after the creation of the state of Israel. Shot in Jerusalem, the film charts decades of history, from the onset of Israel's occupation to the start of the "peace process."
Miral provides an unprecedented lens on Palestinian stories as told through Palestinian voices and experiences.
Schnabel and Jebreal discuss the political, historical, and artistic context of the movie, including the difficulties of making a movie about Palestine for the mainstream American audience.
This event is sponsored by The Center for Palestine Studies. Co-sponsored by the Middle East Institute and Columbia Film Program's Carla Kuhn Series. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Born into a working class family in the southwestern city of Ahvaz in the Khuzestan province of Iran, Hamid Dabashi received his early education in his hometown and his college education in Tehran, before moving to the United States, where he received a dual Ph.D. in Sociology of Culture and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He is currently the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, the oldest and most prestigious Chair in this field.
Professor Dabashi is a current affairs essayist, analyst, and commentator in major international newspapers and periodicals. He is regularly featured on CNN, BBC, CBC, Al Jazeera, and other global, national, and local venues. His essays regularly appear in al-Ahram Weekly in Egypt, Bir Gun in Turkey, and CNN in the United States.
Rula Jebreal is an Palestinian journalist, and novelist, naturalized Italian.
She grew up in East Jerusalem. Her father worked as a groundskeeper in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Her mother committed suicide when she was five. She and her sister Rania were put into the Dar El-Tifel orphanage by their father in 1978 until 1991. She received a scholarship to study medicine at the University of Bologna, where she graduated in physiotherapy. Jebreal has worked as a journalist in Italy for 12 years. She moved to Cairo, to work at Al-Qahira Wal-Nas, (Cairo Centric) television station.
Her novel, Miral has been made into a film by her boyfriend, Julian Schnabel, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, September 2, 2010. It screened at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on March 14, 2011. Jebreal has a teenage daughter, also named Miral.
Julian Schnabel (born October 26, 1951) is an American artist and filmmaker. In the 1980s, Schnabel received international media attention for his plate paintings and large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates.
Schnabel directed Before Night Falls, which became Javier Bardem's breakthrough Academy Award nominated role. Schnabel also directed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which was nominated for four Academy Awards.
He has won a Golden Globe, as well as BAFTA, a Cesar Award, a Golden Palm, two nominations for the Golden Lion and an Academy Award nomination.
Helga Tawil-Souri is a Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication. Tawil Souri's scholarship is on globalization, media technologies, cultural expressions and their relationship to economic and political change in the Middle East. She has published work on Arab and Palestinian broadcasting industries and cinema, internet development, videogames, ID cards, checkpoints, and cultural/political spaces of resistance. She is writing a book on communication infrastructures as bordering mechanisms in Palestine/Israel. Her interest in media is generally in the cultural, political, and economic significance of what happens behind the screens and under the streets.
She is the reviews editor and serves on the editorial board of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. In her life before academia, Helga worked as a researcher at a multi-national media conglomerate, and ran her own internet consulting firm. She is also most comfortable behind the camera, so when not in class or in the office, she's busy as a photographer and documentary filmmaker.