The Seventh Art Stand

The Seventh Art Stand is a nation-wide series of films presented by movie theaters and community centers across the U.S. as an act of cinematic solidarity against Islamophobia.

This May, the Art will participate in an international film series called the Seventh Art Stand, a cinematic act of solidarity against Islamophobia and the Travel Ban. More than 50 cinemas, art museums, and libraries are participating, with special programming selected by each venue. The Art’s film selections, playing over the course of three Tuesdays in May, look at the people who are often talked about but rarely heard from: Muslims in the Middle East.

The Seventh Art Stand at the Art begins on May 2 with CAIRO IN ONE BREATH (Egypt) followed by SONITA (Iran) on May 9 and lastly, a double-feature by Yemeni-Scottish director Sara Ishaq: THE MULBERRY HOUSE and KARAMA HAS NO WALLS on May 16. All films begin at 7pm and will be followed by post-show discussions. And, furthering its commitment to programming films by women, the films in the Seventh Art Stand are all women-directed.

“At the Art, we see cinema as a tool of freedom, which touches the soul while stimulating our ability to think critically and extend empathy,” said Art Theater director Austin McCann. “This series is an intervention into this political moment of intensifying violence and hatred. Through this and many other initiatives, we stand united and resolved in the prevailing notion that despite our government’s efforts to ban people, their ideas, art, and humanity will always be welcome in our spaces.”

The Seventh Art Stand comes right after the successful Affirmation & Resistance: Black World Film Series, a groundbreaking collaboration between the Art Theater and the North End Breakfast Club, which explored black cinema and black life. In June, the Art Theater will host its second annual Cinema Judaica, a collaboration with the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation.

Tues, May 2 at 7:00pm: Cairo In One Breath (Egypt)
Anna Kipervaser’s documentary project about collective and individual voice — as seen through the lens of the 1,400 year-old tradition of the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) and the muezzins who recite it. The film documents the tradition of the adhan at a moment of transformation in the region. After 60 generations, a plan to replace the voices of thousands of individual muezzins in Cairo — by a single voice broadcast from a radio station to wireless receivers — was put into effect. This Adhan Unification Project was instituted in 2010 by the Mubarak regime, which claimed it was an effort to reduce noise pollution. Cairo in One Breath unfolds as this project takes hold, and Egypt undergoes Revolution and regime change. (2016, Anna Kipervaser, Egypt-US, 80 min)

Tues, May 9 at 7:00pm: Sonita (Iran)
Two-time Sundance Film Festival award winner Sonita tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. For the time being, her only fans are the other teenage girls in a Tehran shelter. And her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she’s worth $9,000. Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami (Going Up the Stairs) poignantly shifts from observer to participant altering expectations, as Sonita’s story unfolds in this personal and joyful portrait. An intimate portrait of creativity and womanhood, Sonita highlights the rarely seen intricacies and shifting contrasts of Iranian society through the lens of an artist who is defining the next generation. (2015, Iran, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, 90 min, NR, English subtitles)

Tues, May 16 at 7:00pm: The Mulberry House (Yemen) preceded by Karama Has No Walls (Yemen)
At the beginning of The Mulberry House, Sara Ishaq had been in Scotland for 10 years with her mother when she decided to visit Yemen, the land of her childhood. In Sana’a, the capital, lives her father and the rest of her family. During this stay she meant to film the daily goings-on of her family’s life – but then the revolution breaks out. Outside the gates of her family home, people begin protesting against President Saleh’s authoritarian rule (depicted in Karama Has No Walls, see below), and Ishaq’s family quickly become caught up in the movement, as their desires for a better society are challenged by fears of violence. The film particularly focuses on the delicate dynamics between men and women in this intercultural family. (2013, Sara Ishaq, Yemen, NR, 65 min, Eng subtitles)

Preceded by Karama Has No Walls, Sara Ishaq’s Oscar-nominated (Best Short Film – Documentary) look at the “Friday of Dignity” uprising that occurs outside the walls of her family’s home in The Mulberry House. Incorporating remarkable footage from two cameramen who were there as events unfolded, it offers a dynamic, multifaceted perspective in telling the story of a single day that altered the path of a nation. (2012, Sara Ishaq, Yemen, 26 min, NR, Eng subtitles)

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