Queen Noor of Jordan Visits Tribeca
On Saturday, May 5th, Tribeca enjoyed a visit from Queen Noor of Jordan, as she launched a new program from the New York-based branch of her foundation, the King Hussein Foundation International. As Queen Noor described, this “media and humanity program will highlight and expand access to films and discussions which promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.”
Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal introduced the Queen as an “inspirational world leader and a role model to millions of women and as a personal friend.” Rosenthal went on to commend the Queen for helping to plant the seeds for the Tribeca Film Festival immediately after September 11. “A film festival is a place to look and listen, and that is the commitment of Queen Noor” she said in sum.
Taking the stage in front of the packed auditorium, Queen Noor praised the Tribeca Film Festival as a response to September 11. Her own interest in media and film stems from the way that the stories affect people, because “the quality and content of so much of the film in our world today has such extraordinary impact on not only individual lives but also on communities and on relations of so many of the communities in our world.” She recounted a long-standing frustration with “the lack of U.S. media interest in the human, cultural and complex political realities” of the Middle East. “Filmmakers and news reporters are really the storytellers of our world today,” she said, trumpeting her foundation’s new media program as one that will “emphasize balance and objectivity’ and champion “low-budget, independent projects that do not get the exposure that they merit.”
The Queen brought three panelists to discuss representation in media, particularly relating to the Middle East. Sitting on the panel were Omar S. Amanat, a businessman and entrepreneur; Ghida Fakhry, the current Washington, D.C. co-anchor for Al Jazeera English; and filmmaker Yael Luttwak, whose first documentary—about a weight-loss group that included Israeli, Palestinian. Bedouin and American settler women in the West Bank—premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. The panel was followed by a screening of Luttwak’s film, A Slim Peace