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Winners of the Twin Cities Arab Film Fest Awards
The 10th Twin Cities Arab Film Festival was a weekend of beautiful, challenging, and powerful film. Thank you to our audiences, filmmakers, volunteers, sponsors, and partners.

Mizna's Arab Film Festival festival has long celebrated films and filmmakers whose work sets them apart. For the first time in 2015, we convened a brilliant jury of filmmakers, film scholars, and community members working in cultural fields to select the top films in the following three categories: Best Narrative Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Short Film. We also present Audience Awards based on the votes of our engaged and thoughtful audiences. These prizes are accompanied by a cash award, made possible by our generous film festival sponsors.

A heartfelt thank you to our esteemed jurors.

  • NARRATIVE FEATURE: Hisham Bizri, Ph.D. (Brown University); Linda Mokdad, Ph.D. (St. Olaf College); Kathie Smith (Joyless Creatures / Trylon / Film Society of MSP)
  • DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Mohannad Ghawanmeh (UCLA); Matt Levine (Writer / Film programmer); Sara Saljoughi, Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
  • SHORT FILM: Lorenzo Fabbri, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota); Graeme Stout, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota); Mazhar Al-Zo'by, Ph.D. (Qatar University)
Please find the juror bios below.

Love, Theft and Other Entanglements. Director, Muayad Alayan

Mother of the Unborn. Director, Nadine Salib

"A Nation without a Homeland." Director, Wareth Kwaish

The Narrow Frame of Midnight. Director: Tala Hadid

The Wanted 18. Directors, Amer Shomali and Paul Cowen

"Solomon's Stone." Director, Ramzi Maqdisi


Mazhar Al-Zo'by is an assistant professor of international affairs at Qatar University and a scholar of Middle East culture and politics. His interests both as an academic and a public scholar focus on globalization, postcolonial studies, and critical cultural theory. His current research addresses the question of cultural identity, social movements (primarily in the Arab world), and popular culture in the global context.

Hisham Bizri is a film director, writer, producer, and scholar born in Beirut, Lebanon. He has worked with filmmakers Stan Brakhage, Raoul Ruiz, and Miklós Jancsó and has directed 25 short films to date. He has taught film at a number of institutions including MIT, NYU, the University of Minnesota, and in Lebanon, Korea, Japan, Ireland, and Jordan. He is a professor of screenwriting and filmmaking in the Literary Arts Department at Brown University. Bizri's work has been shown in Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Oberhausen, Moscow, and Abu Dhabi film festivals as well as at the Louvre, Institut du Monde Arabe, Cinémathèque Française, Centre Pompidou, MoMA, and Anthology Film Archives. He is recipient of awards including the McKnight, Salomon, Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and "the Rome Prize" from the American Academy. Bizri is the co-founder of the Arab Institute of Film (Amman, Jordan) with the Syrian filmmaker Omar Amiralay and Danish producer Jakob Høgel.

Lorenzo Fabbri is assistant professor of French and Italian at the University of Minnesota.

Mohannad Ghawanmeh has produced, acted in, curated for, written about, and lectured on film. Mohannad's scholarship encompasses Arab cinema; early, silent cinema; nationalism, transnationalism; media studies; French cinema; and more. His dissertation investigates political economy in Egyptian silent cinema. Mohannad is a PhD student in cinema and media studies at the University of California, Los Angeles where he also directs Melnitz Movies.

Matt Levine is a freelance writer and film programmer based in Minneapolis. After studying film at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Emory University, his writings have been published by the British Film Institute, Found Footage Magazine, the Walker Art Center, and others. A blog series exploring the film The Third Man, co-written with Jeremy Meckler and entitled Still Dots, was published as a monograph by Colpa Press in 2012. He is currently seeking publication for his debut novel.

Linda Mokdad is an assistant professor of film studies and English at St. Olaf College. She has taught at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Michigan State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Iceland. Much of her research focuses on Hollywood, Arab cinemas, and contemporary world cinema. She is a co-editor of The International Film Musical (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), and is currently working on a book about post-9/11 Hollywood cinema.

Sara Saljoughi is assistant professor of English and cinema studies at the University of Toronto. She is writing a book manuscript on experimental and art cinema in Iran in the 1960s and 1970s. Her writing appears and is forthcoming in Camera Obscura, Iranian Studies, Film International, Film Criticism, Discourse, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. She is Co-Chair of the Middle East Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Kathie Smith is a programmer for the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, founding board member, programmer, and projectionist for the Trylon microcinema, and freelance film critic who has written for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, City Pages, Walker Art Center, In Review Online, Twitch, Keyframe, the Third Rail, and Joyless Creatures. She has served on juries for Sound Unseen, Flyway Film Festival, and In the Director's Chair.

Graeme Stout is senior lecturer in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature and Film Studies Coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. He holds a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Minnesota and two master's degrees: one in philosophy from Carleton College and another in theory and criticism from the University of Western Ontario. His teaching and research focus on the relationship between political forces (migration, war, and revolution) and media forms (cinema, television, and digital platforms). He is co-editor of Alien Imaginations: Science Fiction and Tales of Transnationalism. His current book project studies the cultural legacy of terrorism in Italy and Germany from the late 1960s to the present day.
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Mizna is a Twin Cities non-profit arts organization that promotes contemporary expressions of Arab American culture. We publish the literary journal Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America, produce the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, and offer varied other readings, performances, art projects, and community events involving an exceptionally talented and diverse range of local, national, and international Arab American artists.

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