New Levantine Monthly Film Series Launches with L.A. Premieres


Levantine Cultural Center launches the Levantine Film Circle with new monthly series, beginning October 18, 2009 with two Los Angeles premieres, the feature "Driving to Zigzigland" and the short "When the Voices Fade."

Driving to ZigziglandNicole Ballivian's "Driving to Zigzigland" and Erika Cohn's "When the Voices Fade" will open this film session on October 18th with a common commitment against clichés about Arabs and the Middle East. An invigorating Q/A session with both directors will ensue, followed by a deejayed after party with Middle Eastern fusion and dance music by Jazzo/DJ Y.

"Driving to Zigzigland" provides remarkable insight into Hollywood's disposition to portray Arabs as terrorists through the true story of a Palestinian cab driver struggling to become a legitimate actor. Even more remarkable is that the film was made at all. None of the actors or crewmembers were paid, and the production scraped by on a $50,000 budget. But "Driving to Zigzigland" has heart, and has been received with wide acclaim from multiple international film festivals, winning "Best Feature Film" and "Best Actor" at the Amal Film Festival, and "Arabian Sights Audience Award" at FilmFest DC.

Bashar Daas, who plays himself, is an aspiring actor from Palestine who moves to Hollywood to make it big. In the 24-hour glance of his life, the audience witnesses the clichés, the typecasting, and the judgments hurled at Daas in hilarious and heartbreaking ways. He works as a taxi driver to pay his utility bills. In an audition, filmmakers want to cast him as a terrorist (a role he turns down). Passengers harass him once they realize he's from "where suicide bombers come from." And then he receives a letter from the Department for Homeland Security, ordering his deportation.

"Driving to Zigzigland" makes us question our stereotypes and re-think our post-9/11 world. Unlike other heavy films on the topic of Arab immigration, however, the film doesn't take itself too seriously, instead enveloping its audience in a much-needed romp of realism. Watch trailer.

Deconstructing clichés is also what "When the Voices Fade" is aiming at. This 21-minute movie by Erika Cohn glances at the Israeli-Lebanese conflict through the lens of two people: a young Lebanese American woman, Nadia, and a young Israeli American man, Amir. Their relationship provides hope at the very moment of the 2006 war, even as it challenges cultural boundaries and emphasizes mutual understanding. Watch trailer.

This event will take place at Levantine Cultural Center's partner location, Mimoda Studio, 5774 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles 90019 (corner of Ogden, entrance rear of building, street parking). Tickets $12 general, $10 members. For advance reservations or more info, call 310.657.5511.


Name Sales End Price Fee
Tickets $12 general, $10 members Ended $12 $1.29

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