STRANGE TRUTH: Documentary Film Series

A series of screenings and conversations with world-renowned documentary filmmakers organized by Haverford's visiting filmmaker Vicky Funari. Supported as short-term arts residencies and screenings by the Hurford Humanities Center and Distinguished Visitors Fund.

The Hurford Humanities Center, Muslim Students' Association, and Distinguished Visitors Fund present "STRANGE TRUTH," a series of screenings and conversations with world-renowned documentary filmmakers organized by Haverford's visiting filmmaker Vicky Funari. Supported by the John B. Hurford '60 Humanities Center's grant from the Leaves of Grass Foundation.

New Muslim Cool: Jennifer Maytorena Taylor

Producer/Director Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s credits include the documentaries Ramadan Primetime, Special Circumstances, Paulina, Home Front and Immigration Calculations, and many short films. Her work has won numerous festival awards and two Emmys. Based in San Francisco, she has held several arts and journalism fellowships -- most recently with editor Kenji Yamamoto and New Muslim Cool at the 2008 Sundance Institute’s Documentary Edit and Story Lab.

In "New Muslim Cool" Hamza Pérez left life as a drug dealer for Islam ten years ago. Now, after a devastating break-up with his first wife, he moves to Pittsburgh's tough North Side. In a rundown building surrounded by crack and crime, he helps start a new community for African-American and Latino Muslims. Like Hamza, many are ex-gang members who are using hip-hop culture to take their religious message to the streets, slums, and jail cells of urban America. Raising his two kids as a single dad and longing for companionship, Hamza finds love on a Muslim networking website and seizes the chance for happiness in a second marriage. But when the FBI raids their mosque, Hamza and his community come face to face with a whole new set of challenges, and have to choose how they respond. While he continues his rise as part of the provocative rap group Mujahideen Team, Hamza starts reaching for a deeper understanding of his own faith--- leading him to some surprising new relationships with Christian and Jewish allies. Setting Hamza's story in the context of young American Muslims' emergence among the deep dividing lines of the post-9/11 world, New Muslim Cool gives audiences an authentic, intimate, and fresh view of life in one of the world's most rapidly growing and least-understood communities.

Lieux Saints / Sacred Places: Jean-Marie Teno

Jean-Marie Teno, one of Africa's preeminent documentary filmmakers, has been producing and directing films on the colonial and post-colonial history of Africa for over twenty years. Films by Jean-Marie Teno have been honored at festivals worldwide: Berlin, Toronto, Yamagata, Cinema du Reel, Visions du Reel, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Liepzig, San Francisco, London. In the U.S., many of his films including Africa, je te plumerai; A Trip to the Country; Clando; Chief!; Alex's Wedding; and The Colonial Misunderstanding, have been broadcast and featured at festivals across the country.

Teno has been a guest of the Flaherty Seminar, an artist in residence at the Pacific Film Archive of the University of California, Berkeley, and has lectured at numerous universities. Most recently, he was a visiting artist at Amherst College as a 2007-08 Copeland Fellow.

In "Lieux Saints / Sacred Places," Jean-Marie Teno uses the stories of two men in Ouagadougou--Jules Cesar, a drum-maker, and Bouba, a struggling video club proprietor--to examine the larger issues of contemporary African film production and distribution. Echoing Sembene, he asks, "Does today's African cinema serve as the conscience of the people?"

The Non-Fiction Imagination: Jeanne C. Finley

Jeanne C. Finley will show a selection of films, installations, and site-specific public works that utilize non-fiction source materials as their foundation. Her multivalent approach ranges in form and topic from ARM Around Moscow, a documentary about an American-Russian matchmaking service, to The Napoleon Room, an installation that explores warfare by projecting video on the walls of a house where Napoleon once slept. Her works implement documentary strategies such as interviews, archival materials and biographical narratives, but use them to create artworks that reviewers have described as seductive, terrifying and emphatically beautiful.


Finley will show clips from the above works and others, among them A Wing and a Prayer, Drip Drop, and a work-in-progress titled The Archive of Professor Baldric Wigan. Jeanne C. Finley's long-term collaborator, John Muse, is currently a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Haverford College, and much of the work Jeanne will be showing is part of that ongoing collaboration.