Jehane Noujaim: bring people together through the power of the image

I was delighted to find this video of Jehane Noujaim’s talk at the TED conference last year.

Jehane is a filmmaker of both Arab and American origins (in the talk she puts this more eloquently than this: “I am the Middle East crisis in one person”). She is well known for her documentaries like Control Room (which gave us an inside view of Al Jazeera TV and US Central Command’s media operation at the outbreak of the 2003 Iraq war) and Startup.com (which documents the rise and fall of a dot com startup).

In her TED presentation Jehane recounts her experience with the power of the image and film to change peope’s understanding of each other. She shows snippets of her own film and others like Pardise Now and Encounter Points.

She makes a wish: “I want to bring the world together for one day a year through the power of film.” For that purposed she started an organization called Pangaea Cinema Day (named after the vast land-mass that preceded the separation of earth into individual continents – which will project films from independent film makers across the world on a single day, making it possible for people to experience a collective feeling of ‘virtual travel’ into other cultures.

Jehane’s wish is making progress. On May 10, 2008 the first Pangea Day will be held. You can track the progress towards the event on it’s web site.

Pangea Day

I can relate a lot to people like Jehane. People with a bi-cultural understanding of today’s world may have something profound to offer a world held hostage by hardened hearts and entrenched mentalities. It was great to find her TED video and get to hear more about her background, work and ideas.

I had a pleasure of briefly being introduced to Jehane during last year’s World Economic Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, where I saw her filming politicians for an upcoming documentary.

I highly recommend watching the video. Also read what Ethan Zuckerman has written about her TED talk.


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6 Responses to “Jehane Noujaim: bring people together through the power of the image”

  1. Yazan Ashqar Says:

    I loved both of her films ‘Control Room’ and ‘Startup.com’, and still waiting to see ‘Storm from the south’ She obviously got talent, as from my viewings, she ’s like an observer, doesn’t interfere or use her film to deliver a biased message. Although ‘Control Room’ had some of controversy, yet it is still very honest. Thanks allot for sharing.

  2. Humeid Says:

    I read on the Dubai Film Festival site that Jehane only acted as consultant on the film.

    http://www.dubaifilmfest.com/en/2006-films/muhr-awards-documentaries/storm-from-the-south.html

    “Desert Door productions presents the journey of three women who ran for parliament in June 2006, a documentary by Kuwaiti director Walid Al Awadi (Dreams Without Sleep). All had high hopes of breaking the national taboo against women’s involvement in the political process. They knew they faced many obstacles as the first women ever to attempt to represent a region (the south) known for its conservative and tribal traditions. Nevertheless, many men and women showed support for these candidates; though many voters also retreated back to what they were more familiar with. This piece of reportage has serious implications, asking whether we will ever witness a day when Kuwaiti democracy accepts women as political partners. Jehane Noujam (Control Room) served as consulting director during the extensive seven day shoot.
    – Mohammed Rouda”

  3. Roger Says:

    I’m shocked, I knew that girl Christine Saadeh.
    Her father George, used to be a teacher of mine in school.
    may she rest in peace

  4. Roze Says:

    Anyone the americans consider a good arab, is often an arab who is not good to arabs.

  5. Humeid Says:

    Roze. You such an angel. Thank you for you wisdom!

  6. ArabianMonkey Says:

    If you’re in the south of Jordan and want to watch the live broadcast, we’re hosting a community screening at the Ammrain Bedouin Camp in Beidha – feel free to stop by. http://naydynmoody.blogspot.com/2008/05/stories-are-real-conversations-of.html

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