Windows in our Walls: Seeing with Fresh Eyes | Annual Fall Soul Conference

Friday, November 10, 2017, 7:00 - 9:00 pm AND
Saturday, November 11, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

We live in a box of space and time. Movies are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter other minds, not simply in the sense of identifying with the characters…but by seeing the world as another person sees it.

– Roger Ebert

This year’s Fall Soul conference challenges us to enlarge our windows and shrink the walls in the boxes that keep us from one another. Come engage the rich and textured culture of the Twin Cities as we view selected documentaries about people behind headlines and travel bans—many with roots and paths in Minnesota, and participating in this conference.  How does a young Somali man living in the Twin Cities see his surroundings? What can we learn about courage from women contending with daily violence in Syria, and Iraqis who counter the devastation of war and occupation by building bridges of friendship and reconciliation?

Viewing these films together with actors and directors, musicians, community organizers, theologians, poets, educators, artists, and film critics, we’ll process what we’ve seen and probe race, power, and the complexities of social and political constructs that keep our walls intact. Come discover how “seeing the world as another person sees it” can touch our hearts and evoke empathy, compassion, and change. Turning away from fear and suspicion, we can see the world with fresh eyes and live from a deeper, broader sense of shared humanity.

Sample documentary films and exhibits include: 


A Stray, the story of a Somali refugee in Minneapolis who crosses paths with a stray dog. Written and directed by Musa Sayeed.





Queens of Syria – how 50 women from Syria in exile in Jordan come together to create and perform their own version of the ancient Greek tragedy, The Trojan Women.



Music by Native Latin American composers that tell the story of the colonization process in Latin America, led by Mexican-Egyptian conductor and pianist Ahmed Anzaldúa El Samkary of BorderCrosSing.


Iraqi Voices, a selection of short documentary films written and directed by Iraqi-Minnesotan refugees and immigrants in the Twin Cities, through the Iraqi-American Reconciliation Project.

Based in Minneapolis, the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project engages Iraqis and Americans in the arts, education, and cultural and professional exchanges in an effort to counter negative stereotypes, strengthen cultural awareness and understanding, and provide a platform for cross-cultural dialogue.

Iraqi Voices Filmmakers:

Amel Al-Sammarraie is the former Deputy Director of Baghdad’s Children’s Hospital. She moved to Minnesota with her husband in 2013. She now works as a medical interpreter. She directed both a 2015 and 2016 film and narrated the 2016 film, Our Iraq.

Dr. Hala Asamarai was born in Iraq and moved to the U.S. at the age of four. She is a licensed teacher and holds a Masters in Teaching and a Doctorate in Education. She is currently working on a principal license and works with the Minneapolis Public Schools as an Instructional Specialist. She has served on the Global Academy School Board and is a newly- elected member of the Columbia Heights School Board.

Zaid Alshammaa is a young Iraqi-American business owner. He moved to Minnesota in 2010 with his family.


Photo exhibits by Syrian photographer Osama Esid (Solomon's Tent) and
Jamal Penjweny (Iraq is Flying).

 Jamal PenjwenyOsama Esid







WHEN: Friday, November 10, 7:00 - 9:00 pm AND Saturday, November 11, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

COST: $20.00
This conference is supported by a grant.

Please consider giving a gift  to Wisdom Ways
to support our work with artists creating change.

Learn more about conference films and exhibits:


Official Trailer "A Stray"

Official Trailer Queens of Syria


Iraqi Voices Short Documentary Selection: The Iraqi Dream (2014)
Directed by Amel Al-Sammarraie

The Iraqi Dream from iarproject on Vimeo.

View more documentaries from the Iraqi Voices Project.