Harlem Fest Commemorates, Celebrates & Gets Syria

(released 9/11/2013)

The Harlem International Film Festival begins September 11, 2013 with a commemoration of the historic events that took place 12 years ago.  The festival continues by celebrating 40 years of Hip Hop, Q&A sessions with filmmakers, The Crucial Screenings on Syria, and concluding with awards being announced at 8:00pm on September 15, 2013.

Wednesday evening September 11, 2013 the doors will open at 6:00pm at the New York Public Library, Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard / Lenox Avenue (corner of 135th Street) where 16 Acres will screen following Shadows at 6:30pm. Filmmakers will be present for a Q&A after the screenings.

Evening screenings Friday September 13, 2013 will be at: City College, 138 Convent Avenue (West 135 Street and Convent Avenue).  Billed as a tribute to the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Hip Hop held inside the legendary Aaron Davis Hall (seen in the classic film Beat Street), performances and screenings will show the impact Hip Hop has had from its birth in New York City to around the world. Doors open at 6:00pm with screenings at 6:30pm of Within the Eyes of Beauty followed by American Beatboxer.  Filmmakers will be present for a Q&A with the audience.

Director Dareen Hasan (Netherlands) will have his film Bread and Iron: The Struggle of Syrian Workers screened following two other topical films regarding Syria, Not Anymore and Seed StoryBread and Iron will take you to Lebanon to see firsthand accounts of the working conditions of those who have fled their battleground native land of Syria as refugees of war making their way in oppressive work conditions.

Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution is intended to bring to light the reason the rebels are fighting the Asheed regime. According to the film's website, "Filmmaker Matthew VanDyke is an activist, filmmaker, and North Africa/Middle East expert from the USA.  VanDyke graduated from Georgetown University with a master's degree in Security Studies, but his knowledge was confined to the four walls of a classroom and the pages of his books. To learn firsthand about the region and to make a unique documentary film, he spent four years traveling by motorcycle across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.  During this four year period, from 2007 to 2011, VanDyke's adventures took him from the vast reaches of the Mauritanian Sahara desert to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan." Fellow Not Anymore filmmaker and award winning photojournalist Nour Kelze is known for photographing the war in Syria.

All three of the mentioned films are part of The Crucial Screenings on Syria presentation at 5:00pm on Sunday, September 15, 2013 being held at the Maysles Cinema, 343 Malcolm X Boulevard / Lenox Avenue (between 127th and 128th Streets).

The festival's award announcements will take place at 8:00pm at the same Sunday location followed by an after party at Corner Social.

The Harlem International Film festival began in 2005 surrounded by the energy that was home to the Harlem Renaissance. The board of advisers is a collective of an Academy Award recognized director, editor, actress Susan Sarandon, a playwright, professor, psychologist, Harlem community leader, film location director, ITVS Director of Programming, and an Emmy nominated actor. The spirit of the festival is rooted in the idea that the world has much to offer in terms of perspectives and promotes the thoughts of those unique voices. For more information about the festival happenings and additional offerings, screenings, parties, and Filmmaker Q&A's, go to www.harleminternationalfilmfestival.org.

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