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Samt (Silence)

(30 mins) As the world fixes its attention on political tensions in the Middle East, everyday residents of the Kingdom of Jordan live out their lives. The things that matter most to people go on in the shadow of war. Samt is a simple story about a Jordanian family and a group of young people who attend a youth conference. The story concerns Ashtar, a young Jordanian woman from a traditional family who wants to involve herself in progressive politics and culture. Meanwhile, her brother Jihad takes a more traditional approach. Verité filmmaker Rob Nilsson (Cannes winner Northern Lights, previous Fest hits Chalk, Stroke, and Winter Oranges) delves deep into Jordanian culture, politics, and everyday life to capture the drama of this brother and sister, which doubles as a larger examination of the clash between modernization and ancient tradition. Nilsson’s film began as an invite from Princess Farah to do filmmaker workshops in the improvisational style of his famous San Francisco “Tenderloin” district acting ensemble that became his “Nine at Night” film series. With very little post-production sound work remaining, the presentation here is, at the behest of the director, a “work in progress.”

In Arabic with English subtitles.