Friday, November 10, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday, November 11, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

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.

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


Sample documentary films and exhibits include:

A Stray Fall Soul

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

Quuens of Syria fall Soul

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.

Ahmed Anzaldua El Samkary Fall Soul

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-fall Soul sm

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.

Mohammed Raif, a civil engineer, came to Minnesota from Baghdad in 2013. Mohammed and Amel married in 1983. They have three children and two grandchildren. Here in Minnesota Mohammed is on the Board of  the Upper Midwest Translation and Interpreting Association (UMTIA), the Board of Directors of IARP, and has opened his own business, Generational Financial Group.

Kathy McKay, Executive Director IARP, is a co-founder of the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project. Kathy has been involved in management in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds for 35 years, primarily in the health care arena and as principal in two start-ups.

Photo exhibits by Syrian photographer Osama Esid and Jamal Penjweny.

More About Conference Films and Exhibits

‘A Stray’ (2016) Official Trailer

Official Trailer Queens of Syria

Iraqi Voices Short Documentary Selection:
The Iraqi Dream (2014)

This Program’s Calendar Entries

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