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CSUN College of Humanties Newsletter
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"These films
show that transformation is, more often than not, to be found in the struggle, rather than in the triumph."

 

The Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program Presents the Fifth Annual CSUN College of
the Humanities Film Festival "Becoming
Who You Are"

The theme of this year's film festival is an exploration of the ways in which people, despite resistance and hardship, struggle to find their identity, voice, and place in the world. Whether individually or in community, the process of becoming is continual. These films show that transformation is, more often than not, to be found in the struggle, rather than in the triumph.

The four films to be presented take place in Jewish settings, but explore universal issues of identity and becoming that will particularly resonate with young people regardless of their faith or ethnicity.

The festival will be held at the Alan Armer Theater in Manzanita Hall (Room 100) on Monday, November 15 and on Tuesday, November 16. This film festival is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program. For more information, contact Jody Myers (jody.myers@csun.edu) or Mary Jane O'Donnell (mary.o'donnell@csun.edu.)

The films are:

Monday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m.
"Anita" (2009), a film from Argentina directed by Marcos Carnevale, tells the story of the fragility of community in a large, diverse, and often-anonymous urban population. At the center is Anita Feldman, a vulnerable young woman who wanders through Buenos Aires in the aftermath of the 1994 bombing of the AIMA Jewish Community Center. With the loss of her highly protective mother, who was killed in the blast, Anita's presence poses a challenge to others. The film explores how our choices can determine the kind of person we become.

Tuesday, November 16 at 11:00 a.m.
"Leaving the Fold" (2008), an award-winning documentary film from Canada written and directed by Eric Scott, focuses on five young people who have chosen to leave the ultra-Orthodox world in which they were raised for the modern—and secular—world. These choices have come at great cost not only to themselves as they face denunciation, ostracism, and the loss of who they were, but also to their families who mourn the loss of their children from the world they believe to be ordained by God.

Tuesday, November 16 at 12:30 p.m.
"Circumcise Me" (2007), a documentary film from Israel about the decidedly unorthodox faith journey of stand-up comedian Yisrael Campbell from his errant youth, which included drug addiction and a deep aversion to organized religion, to his conversion, not once but thrice, to Judaism—Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. Born Chris Campbell, the son of a Catholic school teacher and ex-nun in Philadelphia, he tells his story of faith and identity through humor. This is "a hilarious, searching and moving story of one man's quest for spiritual enlightenment against the bewildering backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Tuesday, November 16 at 4:00 p.m.
" Number Our Days" (1976), an Academy Award winning documentary by Lynne Littman, who will be present and speak at the screening with CSUN anthropologist Sabina Magliocco. The film tells the story of anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff and her ground-breaking ethnographic study of the people of the Israel Levin Senior Center in Venice, California. It is not only the story of these elderly Jews, most of them European refugees with vivid memories of the Holocaust, but also the story of Myerhoff herself who sought, by studying the stories of her own people, to understand who she is and will become.

— Submitted by Mary Jane O'Donnell

Shemmassian – continued from page 5

"Cultural preservation begins at home," Shemmassian says of being awarded the medal, which is named for the Armenian American author William Saroyan, who set most of his stories and plays among Armenian communities in his native town of Fresno, California. "Naturally one's ego is cajoled by awards such as the ones I received," Shemmassian says. "It is a strange yet pleasant feeling that people recognize and appreciate your work that you have indulged in for decades with a passion."

Shemmassian later accepted an invitation to a Beirut TV studio for a live interview, where he spoke about CSUN's Armenian Studies Program, putting both the Program and the University on the map in Lebanon and Armenia. "Such exposure, I believe, increases the good reputation of both the [Armenian Studies Program] and CSUN," Shemmassian says, "inevitably yielding good dividends for both in many respects."

— Submitted by Teresa K. Morrison
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