Fostering Multiculturalism in Film

The Qatar-America Institute hosts its Expressions Art & Culture Talk with renowned filmmaker Marco Williams on both creating and teaching documentary filmmaking. 

 The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) hosted its Expressions Art & Culture Talk, “Fostering Multiculturalism in Film: Reflections & Lessons as a Film Professor in the Arab World,” featuring renowned filmmaker and former Northwestern University professor Marco Williams at its Washington, D.C. office. 

 Most recently, Professor Williams completed a film called “The Undocumented” – a PBS broadcast/ Independent Lense featured documentary. In 2007, Williams directed and produced “Banished,” a movie that documents African-American descendants’ experiences as they return to the former homes that earlier generations of their families were once evicted from. 

The program was moderated by Georgetown professor Michael Dyson, who serves as a regular commentator on National Public Radio, MSNBC and CNN. Professor Williams discussed his teaching experience while at Northwestern University’s Qatar campus. 

 As part of his discussion, Williams exhibited his students’ short series Naseeb. Naseeb examines the plight of a young woman as she pursues her dream of becoming an architect against the wishes of her mother, who instead wants her to be married. 

 The screening of the series served as a jumping-off point for the two academics as they discussed how the students’ creation served as a reflection of the complexity within various parts of Arabian Gulf society and, in general, the greater Muslim world. 

 Other aspects of the discussion centered around issues of patriarchy within both the West and the East; how one can teach without allowing Western bias to seep into the classroom; and how to best discuss sensitive issues through the usage of film as a medium. 

 The talk was followed by a networking reception that featured an individual performance by award-winning D.C. Jazz artist Elijah Jamal Balbed and pianist Mark G. Meadows. 

Fostering Multiculturalism in Film” was a part of QAI’s Expressions Art & Culture Talk series, which features professionals, artists, and creatives who have lived or worked in Qatar and whose works are inspired and influenced by Qatari culture. The guest speakers share their own experiences and reflections, followed by questions and answers from the audience.