I-NIMS Film Library

These films are available for I-NIMS members to screen to the public.

* Films offered through 20,000 Dialogues.

3 Times Divorced

  • Director: Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana
  • Israel/ Palestine, 2007, 74 minutes
  • Languages: Arabic, Hebrew with English Subtitles

How does a Palestinian woman in Israel survive an abusive husband? When Gaza-born Khitam’s abusive Arab Israeli husband divorces her and gains custody of her six children, she suddenly finds herself fighting two heart-breaking battles: against the Sharia Muslim court to get her children back, and against the state of Israel, which considers her an illegal resident and denies her protection in a shelter for battered women.

3 Times Divorced is a fascinating and disturbing look at a civil and religious legal system that denies women the right to get a divorce independent of their husbands. It highlights the bind that abused women find themselves in when their immigration status is contingent upon marriage. With remarkable access and an unflinching lens that never sensationalizes, award-winning filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana captures Khitam’s astonishing courage as she faces an impossible situation with no country or court to protect her.

Al-Abwab al-Mughlaqa (The Closed Doors)

  • Director: Atef Hetata
  • Egypt, 1999, 105 minutes
  • Languages: Arabic with English Subtitles

Directed by Youssef Chahine's longtime assistant, The Closed Doors touches on several taboos in contemporary Egyptian society, examining their social and political implications. Set during the Gulf War, it tells the story of Mohamad, a highly impressionable young man who embraces fundamentalist ideas as a way of dealing with the confusion of adolescence and sexual awakening. This powerful first feature by one of Egypt's most promising young directors tackles complex themes like oppression, jealousy, virtue, the love ideal and violence in an uncompromising way.

Allah Made Me Funny

  • Director: Andrea Kalin
  • USA, 2008, 83 minutes
  • Language: English

This landmark concert film follows three acclaimed comedians on stage and off as they lift the veil to reveal the humorous side of what it's really like to be American and Muslim. Mo Amer, Azhar Usman, and Preacher Moss poke fun at themselves, their communities, government, human nature and the tricky predicament of living in post- 9/11 America. Featuring music of rising indie scene artists, Allah Made Me Funny: Live in Concert is rollicking good fun and gives people of all cultural backgrounds an opportunity to laugh hard, drop their guard, and open their minds.

American Ramadan: Fasting for Faith

  • Director: Naeem Randhawa
  • United States, 2006, 48 minutes
  • Languages: English, Arabic subtitles

American Ramadan is a bold and exciting new look at the American Muslim experience. It explores and reveals the holiest of rituals, shared by the Abrahamic traditions, but practiced by more – the act of Fasting for Faith. As diverse as the fabric of America –from the divorced Dad, the student coping with school, work and family life, the convert to Islam and his Indonesian wife, an interracial couple, and the wife of an incarcerated businessman – the reality of life is vividly and emotionally witnessed on film. Filmed on location in Dallas and Los Angeles, the feature length documentary follows the lives of five American Muslim families during the Month of Ramadan in 2005. Contrast to the media stereotypes of Muslims as sheltered and outcasts – the film illustrates the everyday struggles, fears, hopes and challenges that everyone, Muslim or not, faces everyday.

ARUSI Persian Wedding

  • Director: Marjan Tehrani
  • US/Iran, 2008, 63 minutes
  • Languages: English and Farsi, with English Subtitles

For filmmaker Marjan Tehrani and her brother Alex, growing up Iranian-American has always meant being caught between two worlds. With unique perspective and intimate storytelling, Tehrani brings to life a compelling examination of US-Iranian relations through the personal journey of her brother Alex and his fiancée Heather’s trip to Iran to hold a traditional Persian wedding—just as the filmmaker’s Iranian father and American mother did at a time when Iran and the US were close allies.

As a tense dinner party between the couple’s families soon illustrates, relations between the US and Iran have changed significantly over the past 50 years, from the CIA-led coup that placed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in power, to the wary political climate of today. Tehrani sheds light on history largely unknown by her generation, with honesty, care, and a thoughtful collection of archival segments featuring historical footage, intelligence documents, and beautiful photographs taken by Alex himself. A universal love story set against a fascinating history, this heartfelt film offers a rare glimpse of Iran beyond politics, revealing its people and history in a personal, hopeful and human light.

Bab al-Sama Maftuh (A Door to the Sky)

  • Director: Farida Belyazid
  • Morocco, 1989, 107 minutes
  • Language: Arabic with English Subtitles

This much-praised feature follows a young woman who has immigrated to France as she returns to Morocco to visit her father on his deathbed. Meeting a female Qur’an reciter, Nadia works with her to open a shelter for Muslim women. The film brings together issues of spirituality, gender, and social hardship.

Bliss (Mutluluk)

  • Director: Abdullah Oguz
  • Turkey / Greece, 2007, 105 minutes
  • Language: Turkish with English Subtitles

Based on the internationally acclaimed novel by Zülfü Livaneli and set against the backdrop of Turkey's natural wonders, Bliss is an eye-opening story about the taboo subject of honor killings. When 17-year-old Meryem is found disheveled and unconscious by the side of a lake in the countryside, her family believes the worst - that her chastity has been lost. They turn to the ancient principle of "tore," a strict moral code that condemns Meryem to death. The duty of upholding the family's honor falls upon a distant cousin, Cemal, who has just completed a brutal tour in the military. Together they embark on a surprising journey across traditional and modern-day Turkey in this unforgettable film.

Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain

  • Director: Robert H. Gardner
  • USA, 2007, 120 minutes
  • Language: English

Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain tells the epic story of one of the world’s great civilizations: the European Islamic civilization of Muslim Spain. Its rise and fall was due in large part to the rise and fall of tolerance among its Christian, Muslim, and Jewish inhabitants. As we stand at a crossroads of history today, it is a story with much to say about the dangers of a clash of civilizations.

Divorce Iranian Style

  • Directors: Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini
  • England, 1998, 80 minutes
  • Language: Persian with English Subtitles

Hilarious, tragic, stirring, this fly-on-the-wall look at several weeks in an Iranian divorce court provides a unique window into the intimate circumstances of Iranian women’s lives. Following Jamileh, whose husband beats her; Ziba, a 16 year old trying to divorce her 38 year old husband; and Maryam, who is desperately fighting to gain custody of her daughters, this deadpan chronicle showcases the strength, ingenuity, and guile with which they confront biased laws, a Kafakaesque administrative system, and their husbands’ and families’ rage to gain divorces.

With the barest of commentary, Longinotto turns her cameras on the court and lets it tell its own story. Dispelling images of Iran as a country of war, hostages, and “fatwas”, and Iranian women as passive victims of a terrible system, this film is a subtle, fascinating look at women’s lives in a country which is little known to most Americans.

Edge of Heaven

  • Director: Fatih Akın
  • Turkey and Germany, 2007, 116 minutes
  • Languages: German, Turkish, English with English Subtitles

Fatih Akin, a critically-acclaimed director, weaves overlapping tales of friendship and sexuality into a powerful narrative of universal love. Six characters are drawn together by circumstances-an old man and a prostitute forging a partnership, a young scholar reconciling his past, two young women falling in love, and a mother putting the shattered pieces of her life back together. Akin's piercing sense of the human condition and contemporary world events charge these hyperlinked stories into a multi-cultural powder keg.

For a Place Under the Heavens

  • Director: Sabiha Sumar
  • Pakistan/France, 2003, 53 minutes
  • Languages: Urdu with English Subtitles

Acclaimed director Sabiha Sumar, recent winner of the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for her feature Silent Waters, offers an insightful perspective on Pakistan in this finely crafted personal film. Beginning with the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Sumar traces the relationship of Islam to the state in an effort to understand how women are coping with and surviving the increasing religiosity of civil and political life in her country. Raised in a more secular time, she struggles to comprehend how religious schools have expanded at once unthinkable rates and presents chilling footage of a mother encouraging her toddler to be a martyr when he grows up. Mixing political analysis with interviews with activist colleagues, noted Islamic scholars and Pakistani women who have chosen to embrace fundamentalism, Sumar’s provocative questions dramatically capture the tension between liberal and fundamentalist forces that are shaping life in contemporary Pakistan.

Four Wives – One Man

  • Director: Nahid Persson
  • Sweden/Iran, 2007, 76 minutes
  • Languages: Persian with English Subtitles

From Nahid Persson, the filmmaker of the award-winning Prostitution Behind the Veil, comes an intimate portrait of a polygamist family in a rural Iranian village. Persson reveals the intricacies of the relationships between the four wives, their husband, their astoundingly free-spoken mother-in-law and their numerous children. Sometimes humorous and often heartbreaking, this film follows the daily lives of the wives whose situation has turned them into both bitter rivals and co-conspirators against their abusive husband. Persson’s camera unobtrusively and beautifully captures the range of the family’s interactions – from peaceful, pastoral scenes of a family picnic, to the temporary chaos caused by a broken faucet in the kitchen, to a furtive, whispered conversation between two wives about the latest beating. The women’s work – making bread, weaving carpets, milking and herding the sheep – provide the background to their frank conversations. Avoiding sensationalism and sentimentality, this film provides unique insights into the practice of polygamy and its effect on the women involved.

I Love Hip Hop in Morocco

  • Director: Jennifer Needleman and Joshua Asen
  • USA, 2007, 80 minutes
  • Languages: English, Arabic, French with English Subtitles

This feature-length documentary follows the creation of Morocco’s first-ever Hip Hop festival, from its inception all the way to the stage, culminating in a 3-city celebration of music, unity, and free speech. The film begins with a group of Moroccan Hip Hop artists who share a single dream: to put on the first Moroccan Hip Hop festival, with concerts in each of their hometowns. Unfortunately, in addition to a lack of resources, these young artists get virtually no support from their own society or government. With the help of the filmmakers, they appeal to the American Embassy for funding and begin the journey that leads to the ‘I Love Hip Hop in Morocco’ festival.

Jashn-e-Azadi (How We Celebrate Freedom)

  • Director: Sanjay Kak
  • India, 2007, 138 minutes
  • Languages: English, Hindi, Urdu with English Subtitles

It's 15th August, India's Independence day, and the Indian flag ritually goes up at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar, Kashmir. The normally bustling square is eerily empty - a handful of soldiers on parade, some more guarding them, and except for the attendant media crews, no Kashmiris. For more than a decade, such sullen acts of protest have marked 15th August in Kashmir, and this is the point from where Jashn-e-Azadi begins to explore the many meanings of Freedom - of Azadi - in Kashmir.

Linda & Ali: Two Worlds Within Four Walls

  • Director: Lut Vandekeybus
  • Belgium, 2005, 94 minutes
  • Languages: Arabic with English Subtitles

Linda and Ali provides a nuanced and intimate look into the life of a traditional Muslim family in Doha, Qatar. But Linda and Ali’s 20-year marriage is far from traditional. Linda was brought up Catholic in Arizona and met Ali – a Shiite Muslim from Qatar – at college in the 1980’s. Shot during the American invasion of Iraq, this poignant film shows how Linda and Ali struggle to surmount their cultural differences while raising their seven children in a lively, loving home.

Unlike many foreign wives, Linda adopted the Shiite Muslim traditions of her husband, and swathed in black, she looks like any other Qatari woman. Within the four walls of their comfortable home, however, Western and Middle Eastern ideals, ethics and attitudes often collide. Linda enrolls her daughters in gymnastics classes, clashing with local morals, but she has yet to convince the girls that a "love marriage" such as hers is preferable to an arranged marriage. Filmmaker Lut Vandekeybus hones in on surprising and candid family discussions about issues such as second wives, religion and Qatari society in general, painting a fascinating portrait of a family living at the complex intersection of gender roles, nationality and religion. For two years, Vandekeybus was given extraordinary access to a culture rarely open to outsiders, and the resulting film offers viewers a unique opportunity to view Muslim culture through Linda’s eyes and counteract the often distorted images of Islamic culture and Muslim people provided by the mainstream media.

Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet

  • Directors: Michael Schwarz, Omar Al-Qattan
  • USA, 2002, 116 minutes
  • Language: English

Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet is history in the present tense, telling the fascinating story of Muhammad through the lives of contemporary American Muslims. This is the biography of a man who changed the course of history 1,400 years ago, and lives today in the United States through the Americans who consider him to be a God’s prophet.

My Home – Your War

  • Director: Kylie Grey
  • Australia, 2006, 52 minutes
  • Languages: Arabic with English Subtitles

My Home – Your War offers an extraordinary look at the effect of the Iraq war through the eyes of an ordinary Iraqi woman. Shot in Baghdad over three years that span the time before, during and after the invasion of Iraq, this profoundly moving film brings a perspective that – until now – has rarely been available to U.S. audiences.

This film combines insightful interviews with Layla Hassan and her family, vibrant scenes of Baghdad and intimate footage shot by Layla herself to paint a compelling picture of how the war has affected average Iraqis. As Islamic fundamentalism takes hold in the chaos of Baghdad, her shy teenage son turns to militancy, her once-progressive sister dons the veil, and whatever freedom Layla once had under Saddam Hussein’s secular rule is steadily being eroded. While facts about the Iraq war garner much U.S. media attention, My Home – Your War is a deeply compelling account of something seldom discussed: how the Iraq war has created a situation where the rise of fundamentalism is putting women’s rights increasingly at risk.

On a Wing and a Prayer: An American Muslim Learns to Fly

  • Director: Max Kaiser
  • USA, 2008, 57 minutes
  • Language: English

On a Wing and a Prayer: An American Muslim Learns to Fly follows Monem Salam, a U.S. born Muslim with a very inconvenient dream: since childhood he’s wanted to get his pilot’s license. Several years after 9/11, he decides it’s safe to try. The call from FBI is only the beginning of his problems. The film alternates between gentle humor and white-knuckle moments to delve into the life of a devout Muslim American family as they pursue happiness and the American dream.

Prince Among Slaves

  • Directors: Andrea Kalin, Bill Duke
  • USA, 2007, approx. 120 minutes
  • Language: English

Prince Among Slaves recounts the true story of an African Muslims prince who was captured and sold into slavery in the American South. After 40 years of enslavement, he finally regained his freedom, became a national celebrity, and dined in the White House. This is an incredible story about an incredible man, who endured the humiliation of slavery without ever losing his dignity or his hope for freedom.

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People

  • Director: Sut Jhally
  • USA, 2006, 60 minutes
  • Languages: English

Based on Jack Shaheen’s bestselling book, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, this film presents the American cinematic landscape as it has portrayed Arabs, from early silent film to contemporary Hollywood blockbusters. Viewers are confronted with patterns of Arab stereotyping that require critical reflection on the political consequences of Hollywood’s ethnic typing. Although this film is not specifically about gender issues, it provides excellent background to any discussion of American understandings of the Middle East, and it includes discussion of the gendered stereotypes that have been so prevalent, from the “harem girl” to the “desert hero.”

Salata Baladi

  • Film Director: Nadia Kamel
  • Egypt/Israel/Italy/Palestine, 2008, 105 minutes
  • Languages: Arabic with English Subtitles

Award-winning, Egyptian filmmaker Nadia Kamel’s heritage is a complex blend of religions and cultures. Her mother is a half Jewish, half Italian Christian who converted to Islam when she married Nadia’s half Turkish, half Ukrainian father. Prompted by the realization that her 10-year-old nephew Nabeel is growing up in an Egyptian society where talk of culture clashes is all too common, she decides to let her mother Mary Rosenthal share their diverse family history.

Saudi Solutions

  • Film Director: Bregtje van der Haak
  • Saudi Arabia/USA, 2006, 77 minutes
  • Languages: English, Arabic with English Subtitles

In Saudi Solutions, filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak, the first Western filmmaker ever granted permission to film the lives of Saudi women, takes us inside this closed society where fewer than five percent of women work. She profiles several women with professional careers—including a journalist, a doctor, a photographer, a television newsreader, a university professor, and the nation's first female airplane pilot-and asks them to explain what it means to be a modern woman in a fundamentalist Islamic society. In offering Western audiences a fascinating and often shocking look at the social status of women in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Solutions also reveals that while Saudi society may be one in transition, involving a delicate balance between religious tradition and modernizing influences, the pace of change will be dictated by the Saudis themselves.

Slingshot Hip Hop

  • Film Director: Jackie Reem Salloum
  • USA, 2008, 94 minutes
  • Languages: Arabic, Hebrew, English with English Subtitles

Slingshot Hip Hop braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, this is the story of young people crossing the borders that separate them.

Talking Through Walls: How the Struggle to Build a Mosque Unites a Community

  • Director: Stephanie Daniels
  • USA, 2008, approx. 60 minutes
  • Language: English

Talking Through Walls: How the Struggle to Build a Mosque Unites a Community takes viewers into the rural town of Voorhees, New Jersey and documents the struggle of Zia Rahman to build a mosque in his community. Against the backdrop of post 9/11 fears that threaten to scuttle the project, a coalition of Jews, Catholics, Buddhists and others join Zia to support his efforts, revealing the best of American ideals at one of the most difficult times in American history.

These Girls (El-Banate Dol)

  • Director: Tahani Rached
  • Egypt, 2006, 68 minutes
  • Languages: Arabic, Subtitled

This fresh, irresistibly lively, intensely engaging documentary from widely acclaimed Egyptian director Tahani Rached follows a band of teenage girls living on the streets of Cairo. Rached won astonishing access to the girls’ world; this vigorous, cinematic film is built upon the deep trust of its subjects and the long experience of the filmmaker.

Already at a disadvantage as impoverished and abused girls in a Muslim society, they encounter rape, drug addiction, prostitution, pregnancy and motherhood on the streets. While the girls’ troubles are not downplayed, neither are their courage, playfulness and vibrant camaraderie. Rached brings alive the pulse of Cairo’s streets, offering an unsentimental portrait that avoids traps of guilt or cheap pity. What stands out is the strength and sheer joy that these girls project. With deft skill Rached reveals an invisible world and offers a loving homage to the inspirational, fierce girls who inhabit it.

Women of Islam: Veiling and Seclusion

  • Director: Farheen Umar
  • USA, 2004, 50 minutes
  • Languages: Various Languages with English Subtitles

During times of conflict with Islamic regimes, such as the recent war in Afghanistan, Western journalists and politicians tend to use the burqua (or veil) worn by some Muslim women as a symbol of oppression. They seem to suggest that, once these women have been freed from oppressive Islamic rule, they will immediately cast off their veils and rejoice in wearing the latest fashions of the West. In reality, however, this has not been the case.

In Women of Islam: Veiling and Seclusion, director Farheen Umar travels throughout Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and the USA to talk with Muslim women and challenge the assumptions about the practice of wearing veils. This landmark documentary explores the origins of these stereotypes and confronts misconceptions about the tradition of covering in Muslim society.

20,000 Dialogues

20,000 Dialogues

Several of our films are offered through 20,000 Dialogues, a nationwide initiative that uses discussions about films to promote pluralism, dialogue, and civic engagement. It seeks to build greater understanding of Muslims through films and conversation. 20,000 Dialogues uses Unity Productions Foundation’s (UPF) award winning films and provides the materials people need to participate in dialogues that further the American ideals of inclusiveness and positive civic action, and to help people understand who Muslims are in a wider social and historical context. Visit the 20,000 Dialogues website for more information.