IAS Film Series 2017-2018

The film series marks its thirty-third year this season. All films are shown free of charge in Wolfensohn Hall and are open to the Institute Community. The series intends to offer the opportunity to hear from the producers, creators, and curators of film.


At the beginning of 2017, one of the first decisions of the newly elected President of the United States was to suspend the entry of citizens from several countries. Executive Order 13769 is commonly known as the “Muslim Ban”. In response, the Institute for Advanced Study made a public statement condemning these discriminatory restrictions as being contrary to our values. Concerned by the fate of the people of the affected nations, the School of Social Science and the School of Historical Studies will curate in 2017-2018 a film series titled “From the Banned Countries” in homage to the creativity and engagement of their cinema.

Schedule of films for the Fall Term, please mark your calendars:

Wednesday, October 18, 4 PM -  Wolfensohn Hall
Last Men in Aleppo

The first film of the series is Last Men in Aleppo by Syrian writer and director Firas Fayyad, who was arrested by the intelligence services of the Assad regime because of his work on this film. Released in 2017, the film has won praise and prizes, including the Sundance Festival World Documentary Grand Jury Award. It follows the so-called white helmets, Syrian men who at the risk of their lives decided to stay in the besieged and bombed city to rescue people buried under collapsed buildings. - During the 2016 presidential campaign, one of the candidates was asked by a journalist what he would do, if he were elected, about Aleppo: “What is Aleppo?” he responded. Firad Fayyad’s documentary will provide an answer. It will be shown at 4 p.m. on Wednesday October 18, 2017 in Wolfensohn Hall, at the Institute for Advanced Study (coincidentally, an extension of the ban to three other countries will go into effect that day). The screening will be followed by a discussion with Professor Kevin Martin, from Indiana University, who is currently a Member in the School of Historical Studies. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Wednesday, November 8, 4 PM - Wolfensohn Hall
Taxi (2016)

Jafar Panahi is an influential Iranian film director and screenwriter who is often identified as a central figure in the Iranian New Wave film movement. He was arrested in 2010 and charged with propaganda against the Iranian government. During the time he was appealing the sentence of six years in prison and a twenty year ban on making films, he made three films in defiance of the state repression. The most famous of them is Taxi (2015) which follows him in a single day as he drives a yellow cab picking up passengers in Tehran. Thus the film clandestinely captures a candid and diverse portrait of Tehran seen through the windshield of a car and via the encounters with strangers and acquaintances. Winner of numerous awards including the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the FIPRESCI prize presented by the International Federation of Film Critics. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, who is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and a former Member of the School of Social Science. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. The film runs 1 hour, 22 minutes.

Wednesday, December 13, 4 PM - Wolfensohn Hall
The Mulberry House and Karama has No Walls, two films by Sara Ishaq.

The film series continues in December with a screening of two Yemeni films from award winning Canadian/Yemeni filmmaker Sara Ishaq. The first, Karama Has No walls, (2012, 26 minutes) was nominated for an Academy Award in the Short Subject category. The film is an eyewitness account of Yemen’s revolution in 2011 that began with a peaceful protest against (now former) President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Friday of Karama, March 18, 2011, saw an end to the peaceful protest. The second film, The Mulberry House (2013, 65 minutes) was also shot in Yemen during the revolution. It has been screened at the Muher Competition in Dubai International Film Festival and was an official selection of the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2013. Sara Ishaq, born and raised in Yemen, moved with her Scottish mother to Scotland when she was 17. She returned ten years later to Yemen with a desire to explore and film her homeland only to encounter the Yemeni Arab Spring. The films will be shown at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 in Wolfensohn Hall, at the Institute for Advanced Study. The two screenings will be followed by a discussion with Professor Steven Caton, Khalid Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulrahman Al Saud Professor of Contemporary Arab Studies from Harvard University, who previously was a Member in the School of Social Science. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Wednesday, February 21, 4 PM - Wolfensohn Hall
Stronger than Bullets, a film by Matthew Millan who will be present to answer questions and comment on his film

Following the Tunisian and Egyptian so-called Arab Spring, a popular uprising began in Libya in February 2011 to overthrow the dictator Muammar Gaddafi. As Western musical expression had been outlawed for decades, playing music became an act of resistance. Filmmaker Matthew Millan, a close friend of a Libyan émigré returning to Benghazi after being away for 36 years, travels with him across the country plagued by violence and chaos, focusing on musicians who give voice to the people long silenced. Multi-awarded Stronger Than Bullets is an ode to art and freedom.

Wednesday, March 21, 4 PM

Wednesday, April 15, 4 PM





Films will be listed as they are scheduled. Please send your suggestions to:

    thank you!

These events are free and open to the Institute community. Please note that food is not allowed in Wolfensohn Hall.