For Reel

Exciting, immersive film fest highlights global culture through a local lens. 

The great film critic Roger Ebert liked to say that movies were “empathy machines” that connected viewers, personally and immediately, with feelings and perspectives outside their everyday lives. Through movies, we can walk in someone else’s shoes for a bit, and better understand different hopes, dreams and fears.

Movies are also a collective experience. A theater full of strangers becomes one audience, witnessing and reacting together. It’s a social reward, really, that bonds us and helps build trust, goodwill, and open communication. In this spirit, NE x NW presents an evening of multi-cultural short films highlighting an exciting mix of grassroots projects from two of Philadelphia’s most diverse and energized enclaves:

NE —  In the Great Northeast, refugees and immigrants from SWANA countries (Southwest Asia and North Africa) have been revitalizing fading business corridors, attracting new investors and federal funding.

NW —  Northwest Philly has been a multi-racial community since America’s settlement days, and even today the Mt Airy neighborhood is nationally recognized as the gold standard for intentional integration, coordinated in the 1950’s.

Join us for a suite of very special movies, each one a highly personal story told in under 40 minutes.

Athar Jiddo, for example, is a Palestinian dance film by local director Aya Razzazz who will be joining us, thanks to a generous Neighborhood Arts grant from Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. We’re also showcasing an adorable mini-documentary about the cats of Mt. Airy, by Charity Frye, Local contributor and recent film school graduate from nearby Arcadia University. And many more Philly talents we can’t wait to highlight!

Films presented vary from comedy, tragedy, romance and more. “We’re picking stories we hope will be entertaining, and also spark some good discussion,” Steve said. To this end, co-host Yaroub Al-Obaidi  –Iraqi artist, author and educator with the Free Library – will introduce the films and moderate audience feedback. He’s also part of the selection process, which aims to showcase a mix of cultural viewpoints with lots of local flavor.

Did someone say flavor? Don’t miss NE x NW’s cross-cultural concession stand – it’s free and so much fun!

Explore a lively variety of snacks, sweets, and other delicacies from ethnic and regional markets in its original packaging. Goodie bags provided so you can take home all your favorites.

**UPDATE** Guests are invited for a complimentary Iraqi buffet, generously (and deliciously!) provided by FPSJ and Friends. 🤤🍛🥘🍲

This festival is a collaboration of two grassroots newspapers, both partners in WHYY’s News & Information Community Exchange. “It’s actually the second time we’re doing an event together,” said Steve Fillmore of The Local paper, based in East Falls/Germantown. “It was so much fun blending our audiences, we wanted to do it again before the weather got too cold.”

Historic Germantown makes the perfect indoor/outdoor location, as well: a 19th century townhouse with a wide covered porch and an enclosed lawn beneath a church tower. “The feedback we got from last time, everyone loved this space,” Nora Elmarzouky of Friends, Peace, Sanctuary Journal told us, “We’re excited to be coming back and building on these positive connections we’re making on a really local level.”

Please join us for a one-of-a-kind celebration that enriches understanding and reinforces our bonds as neighbors in this beautiful city we share. All Welcome. FREE and Family Friendly.

WHAT:              Community Movie Night featuring an exciting variety of short local films
WHEN:              Friday October 21 (7pm – 10pm)
WHERE:            5501 Germantown Avenue, 19144

Friends, Peace, Sanctuary Journal  The city’s first Arabic language newspaper in 120 years, which grew from Swarthmore College project to increase empathy for displaced individuals resettled to the area.

The Local Paper  Philadelphia’s only grassroots newspaper, a collaboration of local leaders, reporters and broadcasters along with artists and activists from all corners of the city.

Historic Germantown  A partnership of 18 extraordinary destinations in Northwest Philadelphia, committed to preserving the area’s history and promoting cultural and economic development through collective voice and action. 

FOLLOW NE x NW SHORT FILM FEST on FACEBOOK for more surprises and additional details.

Feel free to leave comments here, too. View our last NE x NW event here.

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