For the auteurs: Filmmaker to hold screenings here as part of CaravanseraiThe second of four artists from Caravanserai will soon be in Jamestown displaying his medium of choice: film. Cervanserai through ArtsMidwest will present Hakim Belabbes, on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 11 and 12 in two locations.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The second of four artists from Caravanserai will soon be in Jamestown displaying his medium of choice: film.
Cervanserai through ArtsMidwest will present Hakim Belabbes, on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 11 and 12 in two locations.
Belabbes, originally from Boujad, in central Morocco, is highly-sought after in the international film community, according to Teresa Hollingsworth, senior program director at SouthArts, the regional arts council coordinating Belabbes’ visit.
He will be showing two films: a short called “Whispers,” and a 45-minute-long documentary called “A Nest in Heat.”
“What’s so wonderful with the residence is that Hakim will be there for several days,” Hollingsworth said. “He is going to be meeting with university students but also will be doing community screenings.
“With most films audiences don’t have the opportunity to meet the filmmaker and talk to them about their work and influences in the art of filmmaking,” she said.
Hollingsworth said “A Nest in Heat” has a universal appeal that people from all over the world can relate to.
“The documentary film — it’s a great example so many of us have experienced in leaving our families, leaving our home towns to either pursue an education to accept a new job in another city or state,” Hollingsworth said. “So that experience of leaving home, and having to stand on your own, and being separated from everyone you’ve known and what you have known you’re entire life is universal.”
Belabbes left Morocco to pursue his cinema interests in Chicago. “A Nest in Heat,” is the story of his departure.
Both will be shown in Jamestown. The first showing is at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Arts Center. There is no admission charge, but those interested in attending must RSVP by Friday, Nov. 9, at 251-2496, as a light dinner will be served.
The second showing will be at Jamestown College at 7 p.m. Monday. Again there is no admission charge.
While in Jamestown, Belabbes will work with JC students. On Tuesday he will work with Minnesota State University Moorhead students.
In addition to filmmaking, Belabbes teaches film direction and production at Columbia College in Chicago. Concurrently he is the producer, writer and director of Cinemaat Productions and co-founder of the Image Education Center in Morocco.
As a child, Belabbes grew up in his father’s movie theater, the only one in Boujad. There he saw the Satyajit Ray film,called “The Song of the Little Road” in English.
“I watched that film and that’s what changed everything for me, because I realized you could make films about ordinary people,” he said in Chicago during a phone interview. “They don’t have to be superheroes.”
“A Nest in Heat” gave Belabbes a theme he has since incorporated into many of his films — free will or destiny.
“Life is maybe made up of both of these things,” he said. “You need the strength of character to work through life to make good decisions — other people have a little bit of luck, or they call it destiny.”
As a Moroccan-American filmmaker Belabbes is experiencing a little bit of both, as his latest film “Boiling Dreams” was an award winner at an international film festival in Rome.
With the Arab Spring, more and more middle-eastern filmmakers are finding success in a burgeoning market.
“People here in the U.S. have been waking up to the fact that there are nuances about people, ultimately we’re all about the same thing — people just want to live in dignity,” Belabbes said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.orgMore from around the web