films can be a powerful way to reach people —but how do filmmakers
Several directors with successful projects will present a closer view and explain what inspired them to tell their stories. At a time when
of news and film are rapidly changing, they will discuss how they are
reaching new audiences and shaping the conversation
on topics they care
deeply about. We will screen clips, so please arrive on time for this
session. Docs cover a range of topics, including the clearing of
clusters in Lebanon and being gay in the Islamic faith. Two films in
this session are now in theaters, and the
event is co-sponsored with ThirdI, a monthly South Asian film salon
based in New York.
***NOTE TIME CHANGE***
Date: Friday, June 20
Time: 2:15-3:45 p.m.
Place: CUNY, Room 330
Moderator: Pia Sawhney
Panelists: Leena Jayaswal; Parvez Sharma; Jawad Metni; Senain Kheshgi
Leena Jayaswal is currently an Assistant
Professor in the School of Communication at American University in
Washington DC. She is head of the Photography Concentration where she
teaches photography, video, fine arts and theory classes. She has also
lectured on radical media internationally. Her work has been
nationally recognized in galleries around the country, including the
Arlington Arts Center, Lexington Art League, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery,
The Washington Project for the Arts/ Corcoran Gallery of Art, Kathleen
Ewing Gallery and the International Visions Gallery. Her film, “An
Impression: Dischord Records” has been screened in many juried film
festivals around the country including the National Museum of Women in
the Arts Museum and was awarded Best Selected Juror Film in the 2nd
Annual Small International Film Festival at the Berkeley Art Center.
Her slides are a part of the collection of the Asian American Arts
Centre in New York. She has worked for famed photographer Mary Ellen
Mark, and with the Sandra Berler Gallery for many years.
Parvez Sharma is a Muslim gay filmmaker
born and raised in India. In
the nineties, Sharma was a print journalist for several prominent
Indian newspapers including The Telegraph, The Statesman, The Economic
Times, The Business Standard, and India Currents Magazine. Sharma's
first feature documentary, "A Jihad for Love" is co-produced with the
UK's Channel 4, France's ARTE, Germany's ZDF, Australia's SBS, and U.S.
LOGO. His work and the film have already been profiled by The New York
Times, Variety, The Los Angeles Times, The Toronto Star, The Globe and
Mail, Hollywood Reporter, indieWIRE, and NPR.
Parvez speaks English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Punjabi and has taught Indian film and
other media courses at American University. He holds three Masters degrees.
A clip of Parvez Sharma on CNN is on YouTube. His documentary "A Jihad For Love" will open in 35 cities across the country.
Jawad Metni is a director, editor and cinematographer with 15 years
experience in documentary films. His credits as cinematographer include
the critically acclaimed "Hell House" (2001) and "The Plutonium Circus"
(1995). As a director, his films include "Downwind" (2001), dealing
with Gulf War Syndrome and depleted Uranium weapons, and "Trading with
the Enemy" (2004), which explores illegal cigar smuggling and sex
tourism in Cuba. His work has taken him to Haiti, Palestine, India and
Texas. As a producer and editor, he has done a number of productions
for the History Channel, including several installations for the
acclaimed "Slavery in New York" exhibition at the New York Historical
He received his undergraduate film degree from the University of Texas
at Austin, and his MA in Cinema Studies from New York University.
"Lebanon Cluster Bomb" is his first feature documentary.
is a Pakistani-American journalist and filmmaker who has produced,
written and directed projects for CNN, ABC
NEWS, PBS, Discovery, and the BBC. Senain co-produced her first feature
documentary, THE FIRST YEAR, with Academy Award-winning director Davis
Guggenheim. The film was broadcast
on PBS and won the prestigious George Foster Peabody
Senain has been a Sundance Institute Fellow; a Tribeca
All Access Fellow; a Rockefeller
Foundation/ Renew Media's Media Arts Fellow; and an Asia Society Asia 21 Fellow. Senain recently served on the
selection committee for the International Documentary Association's
DocuWeek Documentary Showcase!, which helps qualify documentaries for
Oscar® consideration. She has
served on the Artistic Board of L.A. art festival ArtWallah.
Senain is currently working on a series of short films entitled A
DAY AT THE BEACH, and
developing a documentary about the current state of affairs in
Pakistan. She has taught documentary filmmaking at
Moderator: Pia Sawhney
Pia is an award-winning independent producer and director. She has worked for PBS/Frontline, and her multimedia and audio projects have been published in the Los Angeles Times and aired on Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.
Pia completed a feature-length independent documentary in 2006 that
dealt with Muslim immigrants selectively detained and deported by US
immigration authorities after 9/11. The 66-minute version of the film,
"OUT OF STATUS," was nominated for Amnesty's annual DOEN Award for
Human Rights during the film's premiere in Rotterdam. It screened in festivals worldwide through 2006, and was
broadcast in Europe, airing first on Channel 4 Television in the UK. "OUT OF STATUS" was reviewed by The New York Times, TV Guide, Variety, and New York Post
and had a theatrical run in New York's Lower East Side in August 2007.
Pia and her co-producer, Sanjna Singh, have been nominated for ABC's Talent Development Award. Until recently, Pia was an online producer at Human Rights Watch.