2019 Festival Cinema Invisible

Siena College, NY
October 18— October 192019

The 7th Annual Festival Cinema Invisible

Free Culture Invisible in partnership with Siena College, will host the international film festival The Best of Festival Cinema Invisible October 18-19, 2019 at Key auditorium (515 Loudon Rd., Loudonville, NY, 12211).

The Best of Festival Cinema Invisible program includes feature and short films (including animations) from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The line-up includes world, North America, US and regional premier films.

Each session follows a Q&A with Bill Wolak, Roja Ebrahimi, and Mahmood Karimi Hakak.


Creative Arts Department, Dr. Lara Whelan, Dr. Krysta Dennis, Mike Lounello, Dr. Beverly Thompson, Victoria Pelcher, Saeed Moradi, Pegah Ebrahimi, Lisa Witkowski, Jason Rich, the FCI Board,
and all filmmakers who submitted their creative works to FCI.

A Note from the President

Every day the news reminds us that the universe we inhabit is not only a very unsafe place to live, but we are in danger of extinction. Destruction of the environment, economic, social and ethical injustice, and conflicts between the people of various cultures, religions, and nationalities, all cause us to live in an atmosphere of constant fears and threats.

The unmatched artist of all times, Shakespeare, places the responsibility of protection and preservation of this universe directly upon our shoulders. He writes “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” The greedy politicians have not been able to bring peace and tranquility to the stage of our life, academics have proven less than able to bridge the social, economic or human divide, and many religious leaders have been too concerned with the afterlife to preach tolerance and acceptance. It is left to the activists to oppose prejudice, youth to try to save the environment, and the artists to lead the way to collaborations, dialogues, and negotiation.

As International artists and educators, we believe in making use of the persuasive power of the arts to communicate shared principles of love and compassion, and to build bridges of understanding, tolerance, and reconciliation. Free Culture Invisible LLC www.freecultureinvisible.com was founded to help introduce the work of those artists and intellectuals who are trapped in labyrinths of political, social or economic censorship to a wider audience.

Stressing the human similarities and cultural congruencies, FCI offers an environment conducive to understanding of “the self” and “the other,” as well as a shared personal and cultural experience. Therefore, we hope to make a contribution, however minimal, to understanding, appreciation, and acceptance among people that may otherwise be conflicted.

Cinema Invisible, now in its seventh season, aims to use the arts as a way to open dialogue and understanding among cultures. Cinema Invisible aspires to introduce film, video, music, and art that, in spite of high artistic and technical quality, has been deprived of public exhibition in the country of production.

It is certain that such ambition cannot be realized without your assistance and collaboration. To that end, we are thankful to Siena College’s support in providing the opportunity to reach you, our audience. We are also grateful to you for your enthusiasm and encouragement in fostering this much-needed artistic dialogue. We hope that with your help Free Culture Invisible grows to become a major platform for the artistic and intellectual exchange.

October 2019

A note from Dr. Lara Whelan, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts

In an era of divisiveness, art taps into what we have in common — the human experiences we all share. Now more than ever, in the current political climate, the survival of our common humanity depends on transforming our vision of the Other to a vision of Us. The voices of these filmmakers are vital to that process and inspiring in their bravery. They represent a group that is often voiceless in our culture. For many, making their films was risky in their home countries as well. Their individual perspectives, and willingness to speak their truth, are at the heart of why we must continue to support the arts and arts education — to support the artists who help us connect with each other and to make sure there are audiences, like you, who understand the vital importance of seeking this connection. And so I want to thank you for coming today and supporting the search for connection. I also want to thank Mahmood and the entire FCI Board for the efforts in bringing the festival to Siena, our filmmakers, and Siena, and the Creative Arts Department in particular, for their support of this work.

Looking forward to next year,