A Thin Wall – UK screenings in August

Super excited that our film, A Thin Wall (which I co-produced with Surbhi Dewan), will be shown at the Museum At One Garden City in the UK. The screenings will be at 12pm, 3pm, and 6pm on Saturday August 26. These screenings are part of South Asian Heritage Month at the Museum. Pls attend if you are in the area.
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Repost from @reeln_uk:

ReelN presents South Asian Heritage Month at Museum At One Garden City, with an introductory exhibition featuring local South Asian stories and their contribution to the world’s first garden city!

This is an ongoing project and we want to hear from South Asian residents to record their stories of living and growing up in Letchworth Garden City.

The exhibition will be on display following a private launch event on Friday 21st July to August end and will be free to attend. Featuring stories about local football heroes, ‘Singh Sabha FC’, Dance celebrities ‘The Twilight Players’ and community members who have contributed to South Asian life and industry locally.

The exhibition closing event will also feature India, Pakistan documentary film, ‘A Thin Wall’ by filmmakers Mara Ahmed and Surbhi to be shown at 12pm, 3pm and 6pm on Saturday 26th August, also at the museum and free to attend.

There will be a full ‘Singh Sabha FC’ exhibition in collaboration with the museum in May 2024! -you heard it here first!

Join us to celebrate these local heroes!

Please direct any questions to hello@reeln.co.uk

Return to Sender – Official Trailer

I am thrilled to share the trailer for Return to Sender: Women of Color in Colonial Postcards & the Politics of Representation. It’s a short film that explores Orientalist images of Indian women, circulated as postcards, during the British Raj. It opens up a conversation about objectification, beauty standards, identity, the colonial male gaze, and otherness. The film will premiere on Oct 1st at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY, and will be followed by a community discussion. Thank you Dylan Toombs and Boris Sapozhnikov for this beautiful footage and Fatimah Arshad, Urvashi Bhattacharya and Sumayia Islam for your brilliant convo and performance in the film. We are almost done with color grading and graphics (thank you Rajesh Barnabas) and are getting ready for sound engineering. Thank you Patty Eljaiek, the Huntington Arts Council, Inc., Stephanie Godard, and the Huntington Historical Society for all your amazing support with this project!

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc.

all human lives are not equal

fortress europe’s racism and contempt for human life shouldn’t shock us anymore. but it does. more than 700 people – including children – might have drowned in the mediterranean sea. many pakistanis were forced below deck. cannot imagine the horror and grief of their families. all this criminal neglect and inhumanity while rescuers ‘race against time’ and ‘massive search and rescue’ missions are underway to find 5 hyper rich people checking out the titanic’s wreckage. the contrast is obscene.

History is like an old house at night

He explained to them that history was like an old house at night. With all the lamps lit. And ancestors whispering inside. “To understand history,” Chacko said, “we have to go inside and listen to what they’re saying. And look at the books and the pictures on the wall. And smell the smells.”

“But we can’t go in,” Chacko explained, “because we’ve been locked out. And when we look in through the windows, all we see are shadows. And when we try and listen, all we hear is a whispering. And we cannot understand the whispering, because our minds have been invaded by a war. A war that we have won and lost. The very worst sort of war. A war that captures dreams and re-dreams them. A war that has made us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.”

—Arundhati Roy in ‘The God of Small Things’

A Thin Wall in Winnipeg

More wonderful news! A Thin Wall, my film about the partition of India co-produced by Surbhi Dewan and myself, will be screened this Saturday in Winnipeg, Canada:
The Kohinoor Collective presents Winnipeg’s first Punjabi Film Festival, featuring films about Punjabi histories, politics, and diasporas. Funding for the Punjabi Film Festival is provided by the Manitoba Arts Council and University of Manitoba Community Engagement/Prairie Asian Organizers.
A Thin Wall will be screened on Sat Jun 17 2023 at 05:15 pm and will be followed by a discussion. You can buy tickets online and then head to the Dave Barber Cinematheque in Winnipeg.

sharing seeds at teatro yerbabruja

i got to share some of my writing and my translations of faiz ahmed faiz’s poetry yesterday at teatro yerbabruja’s firehouse gallery. bethany smith sang and so many wonderful musicians and poets shared their work. there was such diversity in terms of style and presentation, language and theme, medium and approach (i should have taken more pictures, it was a full house). it’s truly a blessing to have found this space, created by a woman of color, on long island. thank u everyone who organized, presented, shared and witnessed. an unforgettable night!

Havah…to breathe, air, life

Thrilled to finally see Shahzia Sikander’s ‘Havah…to breathe, air, life’ in Madison Square Park. The genius and beauty of her work are always breathtaking.

‘In the park, Sikander places a monumental female figure that teems with symbolic imagery, titled Witness. Wearing a hoop skirt inspired by the courtroom’s stained-glass ceiling dome and detailed with mosaic, the figure’s arms and lower legs swirl into a decorative motif suggesting tree roots, a reference to what the artist has called the “self-rootedness of the female form; it can carry its roots wherever it goes.” The figure’s hair is braided to resemble a ram’s horns, identified in Eastern and Western traditions as a symbol of strength.’

‘Atop the historic Courthouse, NOW, another female figure—similar in form to the sculpture in the park, but without the embellished skirt—arises from a colorful lotus, a symbol of wisdom. The work’s connection with the Courthouse is imbued with meaning as the building’s rooftop is crowned by plinths inhabited by statues of nine historic and religious male legislators, including Confucius, Justinian, Lycurgus, Moses, and Zoroaster—but without a single woman represented atop a plinth until Sikander’s installation. Sikander’s work both physically and symbolically elevates the female figure, putting her on level plane with the traditionally patriarchal embodiments of justice and power.’

Return our stuff

“I want Africanist anthropologists to write about the coronation in England in the same ethnographic language they use to write about African cultural practices.

You watch this spectacle in England celebrating one of the most vicious and genocidal empires and you wonder if there will ever be justice in this world.”
—JP@grosmorne29 on Twitter

BTW the pendant in the necklace worn by all British queens at their coronation since Victoria, was stolen from Lahore (my city of birth) along with everything else in the Lahore treasury. It’s called the Lahore diamond. An apt symbol of how most European wealth (remember the Golden Age or la Belle Epoque?) comes from looting, whether it be piracy, slavery or colonialism.

Make a difference

Dear all, we often talk about what we can do to support anti-colonial struggles and further movements for justice. Here is an easy and direct way.

Lift the voices of Palestinian artists/filmmakers and educate audiences worldwide on the subject of Palestine — support the Palestinian Film Festival Amsterdam (PFFA).

This year the festival will commemorate 75 years of the Nakba, the Great Catastrophe, which saw the mass expulsion of indigenous Palestinians in 1948.

The founder of the festival, my dear friend Nihal Rabbani, has applied to the Amsterdam Fund For The Arts for most of the funding, but 25% of the festival’s budget still needs to be raised in order to cover essential costs. Even if you donate the minimum amount of €10, it will help.

Pls share widely on social media and within your network. Thank you.