NU-Q Students Participate in 48-Hour Festival

February 13, 2020

Students from Northwestern University in Qatar spent a weekend putting their media expertise and creativity to work during the Creative Media Festival. The event, which is held over 48 hours, takes place annually at NU-Q.

The projects that were created – all focusing on the festival’s central theme “Rising Up/Uprising” – featured various media including two short films, a documentary, poetry readings and performances, photography, paintings, sculpting, and sound and light design elements.

More than 50 students participated in this year’s festival – from organizing, directing, and promoting the event, to creating the art. At the end of the 48-hours, nine projects were created that addressed topics ranging from the political uprisings in the Middle East to the identity struggles of mixed-race people and the implications of stereotyping.

The media festival is produced by a team of creative mentors that include two Northwestern alumni, Tom Casserly, a New York-based theater producer, and George Bajalia, a theater artist and cultural critic from Columbia University; and Caitlin Cassidy, an actress and singer. The project is student-run and this year three student co-leaders managed the project and process: Rahma El-Deeb as executive producer; Maha Essid as artistic director, and Wijdan El Khateeb as artistic producer.

NU-Q students Giordana Bido and Maryam Gamar worked on a project – “For a Girl” – that combined written words with dance to address internal struggles that women have when they feel unsafe or experience a form of harassment. Bido said that the pair combined “what we do best – writing and dancing – to put forth an important message on women’s rights.” 

Meanwhile, students Hazar Kilani and Menna AlMatary curated a photography project inspired by the uprisings in Palestine, Egypt, and Tunisia. The project included three portraits of individuals clothed in iconic items that reflected their country of origin such as traditional Palestinian Kuffiyeh and the Tunisian and Egyptian flags.

Another group of students – Asmae Nakib, Beatrice Zemelyte, Chadi Lasri, Farouk Essalhi, and Noura AlShantti – created a short film “Identitwo” to raise awareness about the dangers of assumptions and categorizing people based on their appearance. “Our aim was to raise awareness about the negativity that results from stereotyping and racism. We hope that our audience will understand that it is important to think twice before making assumptions about the identities of people. We also hope to encourage people to accept and embrace their identities, no matter how different they may be,” said Asmae Nakib.

The final projects were:

  • “A Pamiri Dance for the Soul” by Nekbakht Aliekova
  • “Collateral Damage” by Princess Collado
  • “For a Girl” by Giordana Bido and Maryam Gamar
  • “Identitwo” by Asmae Nakib, Beatrice Zemelyte, Chadi Lasri, Farouk Essalhi, and Noura AlShantti
  • “Rebel with a Cause” by Aesha Hussien, Afnan Tag, Dana Dimachkie, Lujain Assaf, Noor Haddad, and Tanieshaa Shrestha.
  • “Rising Silence” by Ameera Al said, Hiba Awouda, Mariam Geroun, and Noor Abunabaa
  • “Solidarity” by Hazar Kilani and Menna AlMatary
  • “SwiTch” by Ahmed Jassim, Fatima Dauleh, Sara Al Muftah, and Shaikha AlMulla
  • “Watani” by Karim Emara, Lojaina Gomaa, Salwa Sadek, and Ria Sayadi

“The Creative Media Festival encourages and enables students to collaborate in creating media experiences that are imaginative, bold, and courageous in the interpretation of our featured theme,” said Gregory Ferrell Lowe, professor and director of the Communication Program at NU-Q. “It takes an enormous amount of planning and effort to put together such a complex collection of media creations in such a short amount of time. This year’s results were impressive for the artistic value the students created, and for the insightful treatments they produced about complicated issues.”