NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Middle East Film Initiative (MEFI) is soliciting narrative webisode screenplays about Manhattan’s Little Syria and its inhabitants. MEFI will select one webisode to be produced as the pilot of an episodic web series. Additional screenplays will be considered for the following episodes. MEFI assembled a selection of excerpts from period writings as well as contemporary testimonials of former residents of Little Syria (http://middleeastfilminitiative.com/mefi/interviews/) to independently serve as inspiration for a stand-alone webisode set in New York City during the time when Manhattan’s Little Syria existed. Webisodes should be 6-8 minutes long. The deadline is July 20.
The New York City-based Middle East Film Initiative was launched in 2013 by Ruth Priscilla Kirstein, MD, PhD. MEFI is a non-profit EEO and diversity project serving U.S. media and entertainment professionals who are of Middle Eastern descent or working on topics of importance to local Middle Eastern communities. MEFI conducts interdisciplinary training, curriculum development, project development, consulting, research, outreach, and advocacy. MEFI has partnered among others with New York University and the Writers Guild of America East, and received the support of The Harnisch Foundation. MEFI is non-partisan, non-religious, and has no foreign affiliations.
Dr. Ruth Priscilla Kirstein
is MEFI's Founder and Executive Director. Her work merges science, entertainment and athletics. As an actor-fencer-dancer, director, visual artist, and moderator, she has moved and connected audiences at prestigious venues in America, Europe and the Middle East. She holds an MD and a PhD in Medical Ethics.
Little known today, starting in the 1880s until the 1940s, a thriving Levantine neighborhood called the “Syrian Quarter”, “Mother Colony” or “Little Syria” existed in downtown Manhattan. People from all over the Western Asian part of the Ottoman Empire made New York City their home. Renowned writers, poets, journalists, and artists such as Khalil Gibran and Ameen Rihani emerged from this community. In a cosmopolitan New York, they found innovative ways of making sense of their Eastern and Western, Middle Eastern and American identities. Following the displacement of Little Syria’s inhabitants due to the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, many relocated to Brooklyn. Today, only three buildings remain of Little Syria in Lower Manhattan.
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