Catch the Twin Cities Arab Film Fest this weekend that highlights the Palestinian struggle for liberation; a celebration of Native American artists through puppetry, dance, and film; a Korean show with cooking, martial arts, and traditional music; or poetry readings by Korean and Hispanic artists.
Mizna, a nonprofit dedicated to showcasing the cultural works of Arab, Southwest Asian, and North African artists, is hosting its 17th annual Arab Film Fest.
The festival will feature 37 films by local and international filmmakers from more than 15 Arabic-speaking countries, including documentaries, experimental features, and short films. The films will center on the Palestinian struggle for liberation, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the displacement of several hundred thousand Palestinian people from land that became Israel.
One documentary, “Notes on Displacement,” chronicles a family’s grueling journey from Istanbul to Germany. Palestinian filmmaker Khaled Jarrar was inspired to create it in 2014 after coming across a newspaper article detailing a family’s plea for support as they were displaced from their home.
The central figure is Nadira, a Palestinian woman who endured displacement from Palestine during her youth and then faced a second displacement, paralleling Jarrar’s own family history.
“That story really touched my heart,” he told Sahan Journal in an interview. “I remember, before my grandmother died, she hoped she would go back to her home in Haifa, but she never went back. And now this lady is in her second displacement.”
Jarrar assumed a refugee identity and posed as part of Nadira’s family by purchasing a forged refugee paper to accompany her family on their journey. They encountered hunger and confrontations with aggressive police officers as they traveled vast distances on foot.
“I tried to be this strong camera person watching from a distance, but I failed,” Jarrar said. “I was emotional. I was angry and crying. I had all the stories of displacement in my mind, and I felt I inherited the trauma of my grandmother.”
Jarrar said the film portrays not only suffering, but also love, with moments of refugees smiling, singing, and playing sports.
“Notes on Displacement” is one of the many featured films that will host discussions with the filmmaker after the screening.
Date: Friday, September 29, through Sunday, October 1
Time: Various times for different films. Find the film guide here.
Location: The Main Cinema, 115 S.E. Main St., Minneapolis
For more information: Visit https://tcaff23.eventive.org/welcome.
The zany international show, “Cookin,’” comes to Minneapolis’ Children’s Theatre Company, with four frenzied chefs racing against the clock to prepare an entire wedding feast in just one hour.
In the long-running South Korean show, known as “Nanta” in Korean after the resounding beat of a drum, “Cookin” chefs blow fire and perform martial arts to the backdrop of samul nori, a traditional Korean style of music featuring four percussion instruments, including drums and gongs.
Riding the surge in popularity of Korean culture, particularly K-pop and K-dramas, “Cookin’” has been performed in more than 60 countries.
Production supervisor Katherine Young Park said American audiences generally respond with laughter and applause to the chefs’ culinary antics, while Japanese audiences are more likely to appreciate the precision in the martial arts and drumming elements.
The show will feature a blend of traditional and contemporary Korean cuisine, with recipes provided in a program book for audience members to take home. Additionally, attendees will have the chance to participate on stage and taste the dishes prepared during the performance, including bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef) and traditional Korean soup.
“When you see this show as a teenager, you’re going to see some particularly funny parts, but when you see it in your 20s, you’re going to think, ‘Maybe I should bring my parents,’” Park said. “When you’re in your 30s, you’re going to want to bring your kids. So, it’s like you have three generations sitting in one space and laughing about the same thing together.”
Date: Friday, September 29, to October 22.
Location: Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis
Cost: Tickets start at $15. Buy tickets here.
For more information: Visit https://childrenstheatre.org/whats-on/cookin/.
St. Paul artist Ute Bertog will host the “Popovers and Poetry” event as part of Twin Cities Art Week. The event will feature poetry readings by Korean writer Sun Yun Shin and Hispanic poet Eric Lorberer.
Date: Saturday, September 30
Time: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Location: Rosalux Gallery 315 W. 48th St., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55419
For more information: Visit https://www.rosaluxgallery.com/.
Z Puppets Rosenschnoz, a performing arts theater specializing in puppetry, will host a family-friendly celebration of Native American artistry. The event will feature a dance party, two film screenings, puppet making, and screen printing activities, all led by Native American artists.
The festivities commence at 1 p.m. Saturday with a dance party led by Meskwaki artist Oogie Push. The event will also feature puppet-making sessions led by Anishinabe artist Julie Boada and Jennings Mergenthal, as well as a screen printing activity guided by Dakota artist Graci Horne.
Film screenings will be included, featuring a documentary on the Meskwaki corn tradition and a musical adventure involving a turtle and a rabbit’s quest to preserve the Cherokee language. Additionally, there will be a live sing-along performance featuring characters from the musical.
The celebration will conclude at 4 p.m. with a celebration of a new mural by Graci Horne at the Waldo Building, located on the corner of E. 41st Street and Chicago Avenue.
Date: Saturday, September 30
Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Z Puppets Rosenschnoz 4054 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407
For more information: Visit https://zpuppets.org/.