INDUSTRY: Expression, Grace and Life — Film by Film

Cathlene Stubbs, founder of the first annual Zendegi Film Festival, on making a difference in her community… one film at a time.

A couple months ago we were contacted by a young woman in Nevada City, CA, who wanted to make a difference in her community. Her dream was to create a small festival that focused on the beauty of Middle Eastern and North African culture, rather than heavy political statements – and that idea has grown into the first annual Zendegi Film Festival (Zendegi means “life” in Farsi). We were very impressed with Cathlene’s project and her enthusiasm, and so we asked her to write a guest post about why she decided to put this festival together, and why she contacted GFI. Here’s what she had to say:

As Americans, we are primarily exposed to western media, giving ourselves a relatively limited cultural view of the world. Our news and popular entertainment, especially in times of political unrest, can sometimes further misunderstandings and contribute to fear-based decisions. Historically, the image of the Middle East and North Africa has been portrayed strictly as lower class, violent and oppressive. And very rarely are these regions represented as diverse and deeply rich in cultural tradition and vibrant lifestyles.

Artistic expression is the foundation of everyday life across the globe, and so I wanted to showcase in my community the voices of expression that exist throughout the Middle

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