The BMF Festival is a program of the American Islamic Congress and its Project Nur. The AIC is a civil-rights organization promoting tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslims and between other peoples, working globally with offices in Washington, Boston, Egypt and Iran. One of AIC’s student-led initiatives is Project Nur (“Enlightenment”), which helps to build bridges between Muslim and non-Muslim students on university campuses by promoting co-existence, tolerance, and understanding.
This year’s BMF Festival theme is “Art Under Fire”. We attended the premiere, Nina Davenport’s documentary Operation Filmmaker at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA). “OF” is the story of Muthana Mohmed, an Iraqi film student. Liev Schreiber, an American actor, saw Muthana featured on MTV and invited him to intern on the set of Everything Is Illuminated in the Czech Republic. What follows is a long, strange trip through ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, Hollywood, Europe, England and more.
Before the film, the audience was given Festival goodie bags of informational materials and candy, spoken to by the organizers, and treated to a show of bhangra dancing (the folk music and dance created by the farmers in Punjab region of Pakistan and India to celebrate Vaisakhi, Spring) by Boston University’s group to promote an upcoming collegiate competition.
Our after-party was at least as interesting. In keeping with the theme of the evening, we dined at Algiers (next door to the theatre! it seems they don’t have their own website, but I hope I’m wrong, because it’s a wonderful place and that link doesn’t do it justice). And one of our party turned out to be a Swedish woman here as a fellow at Harvard University, working on the philosophy of the ethics of stem cell research. Yes, we both exchanged contact info with her.
Thank you to all our hosts for a night of much figurative and literal food for thought!