NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Middle East Film Initiative (MEFI) is asking writers to submit narrative screenplays about Manhattan’s Little Syria and its inhabitants as part of a web series. To inspire participating writers, MEFI selected and translated excerpts from period writings, such as a timely text by the feminist journalist Afifa Karam published in Little Syria in 1908. Furthermore, MEFI conducted compelling interviews with former neighborhood residents (http://middleeastfilminitiative.com/mefi/interviews/). This unique opportunity to become part of MEFI’s innovative writers room is open to ALL. EXTENDED DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 10.
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 nonpartisan, nonreligious, and has no foreign affiliations. http://middleeastfilminitiative.com
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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