Session Announcement: Remixing the Script

Washington, D.C. | | May 31, 2023 – We are delighted to unveil an exciting session to the upcoming ADC National Convention program. The convention, scheduled to take place from June 16th to the 18th, 2023, will feature a thought-provoking session titled Remixing the Script: Telling the Arab American Story. The session will be held on Saturday, June 17th as part of the convention program.

This engaging session aims to explore the vital significance of authentic Arab-American representation in the media. It will delve into the essence of conveying an authentic, multifaceted narrative that captures the intricacies of the Arab-American experience. The distinguished panelists will delve into the challenges faced by Arab American creatives, while also shedding light on the promising opportunities available to break through existing barriers. Moreover, they will emphasize the profound impact that authentic representation holds in dismantling stereotypes and fostering empathy between cultures.

The session will feature Serena Rasoul, founder of MA Casting, Ziad Foty, Film Director and moderated by ADC’s Manager of Communications, Jasmine Hawamdeh.

The ADC National Convention will be held from June 16th to the 18th, 2023Remixing the Script: Telling the Arab American Story on June 17thEarly Bird Registration rates are available for Convention packages which include access to all events, luncheons, dinners, panels, and receptions. Click here to register now !

Please note that hotel rooms are filling up fast, and attendees from out of town are encouraged to reserve rooms at the Crystal Gateway Marriott using the ADC special rates.

Speaker Bios:

Serena Rasoul founded MA Casting, a casting agency that casts, consults, and advocates for MENA and Muslim talent in the TV/Film, Commercial, and Art industries. Her organization spearheaded the first study and test on the portrayal of Muslim women on-screen called, Surviving to Thriving: Muslim Women’s On-Screen Test with the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media and the Pillars Fund.She was recently named Top 100 POCs in Media for 2023 by A.N. Publishing.  She serves as Community Engagement Specialist at the National Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art, where she works to engage artists and community groups with the museum.  And also sits on the Board of the non-profit organization called M Film Lab, which works to develop scripts from underrepresented communities into short films.And finally, as an artist herself, Serena recently preformed at the Kennedy Center, completed a Fellowship at Harvard, and in the Fall will begin her PhD in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University, focusing on the documentation and preservation of Palestinian Folkloric Music.

Ziad El-Foty is a filmmaker, digital agency owner, and academic. He holds his bachelor’s in English literature and film from Lafayette College, a Master’s from Trinity College Dublin in film history and theory, and a master’s in fine arts in film production from Howard University. Foty has taught film studies and production at George Mason University Catholic, and Howard University. He is the founder of a web design firm, Design in DC, and film production company, Foty Fusion Films, where he produces films that focus on underrepresented stories with strong social justice themes.

His debut narrative short entitled “El Mahal,” about a Palestinian-American’s struggle to survive in a family-run grocery store, won the award for Best Foreign Language Short at the 2019 Marina Del Ray Film Festival and Best Cinematography at the 2019 Wheaton Film Festival. Ziad has continuously won awards for several short films, including, “Blue” (2021) which won the Audience Award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival and Normalized (2022) which won the Best Narrative Short at the DC Independent Film Festival, highlighting the true story of a black man struggling with mental illness. Ziad also aired a film he produced on PBS named “The Last Battlefront: The Quest for the Vote in Washington DC,”. This year Ziad will debut his feature documentary “Return to Ramallah” (2023) about his father returning back to his native Palestine after 40 years in America.

As an academic his research interests focus on Palestinian American identity, Arab cinema, and the politics of memory. Ziad wrote his Master’s dissertation on a “A New Group of Palestinian-American Films: Salt of this Sea and Contrarian Representations of the Homeland”. More recently he has recently written and edited a book called Global Horror: Hybridity and Alterity in Transnational Horror Film. His specific chapter explored the trope of the Hollywood Terrorist and the need to highlight films that contain counter-hegemonic self-representations.

As an entrepreneur Ziad started Design In DC from the ground up to become an award-winning

digital agency built for the future. Focusing on cultivating a dynamic work environment and a forward-thinking client experience, he has helped create a vision centered around helping brands tell their stories to the world. Unlike many leaders in design agencies, Ziad’s

experience in the film industry has allowed him to bring a fresh and innovative perspective to the world of branding and web design. He views web design as dynamic storytelling much the way he views cinema.

Jasmine Hawamdeh is currently the Manager of Communications at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a civil rights organization dedicated to defending the rights of people of Arab descent in the United States. In her role, Hawamdeh is responsible for overseeing ADC’s communications strategy, including media outreach, public relations, and social media management. She also works to promote ADC’s mission and advocate for the Arab-American community through various forms of content creation and engagement.

In addition to her position at ADC, Jasmine Hawamdeh is also an artist. Her artwork explores themes of identity, memory, and belonging, often drawing inspiration from her experiences as a first-generation Arab-American. Hawamdeh’s work has been exhibited in art shows across Canada, the UK and the United States, and she has also worked on various public art projects. Her passion for art and creative expression is an integral part of her identity and informs her work as a communicator and advocate.

Hawamdeh holds a iBBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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