Zenith Foundation fosters Arab independent cinema, music, culture

More Information icon BY AUSTIN BURBRIDGE. LOS ANGELES (CINEMA MINIMA) — The Zenith Foundation aims to provide a platform for Arab independent cultural production, including cinema, sound, thought, and culture, throughout both the Arab region, and the Arab diaspora.

The not-for-profit organization was incorporated in London in 2002 by a BBC producer (and lawyer), Mona Deeley; and a musician, Seth Ayyaz.

In the 2012 Open City Docs Festival in London, the foundation presented two documentaries relating to the revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt: ROUGE PAROLE, by Tunisian director Elyes Baccar; and TAHRIR 2011: THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE POLITICIANS, by Egyptian director Tamer Ezzat. Zenith Foundation Arab Film Festivals were presented at Britain’s National Film Theatre in 2004, and at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Cofounder Mona Deeley is a producer for Cinema Badila: Alternative Cinema on BBC Arabic TV. The weekly program spotlights independent short films, and includes interviews with filmmakers.

In addition to its cultural programs, the Foundation operates two online businesses: a Zenith Shop, which sells movies and music; and the Zenith Image Library, a specialist resource which offers archive and contemporary stills and clips representing the Arab region.

Zenith cofounder Mona Deeley will participate in a panel discussion, Arab Cinema in the UK: The Present and the Future on 2012 September 21 Friday at the ICA on the Mall in London. The Friday Forum will be part of Safar: A Journey Through Popular Arab Cinema, organized by the Arab British Centre in partnership with the ICA and Dubai International Film Festival.

Zenith Foundation resources

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PIERRE RISSIENT: MAN OF CINEMA documentary by Todd McCarthy screening in Hollywood 2012 June 23

BY AUSTIN BURBRIDGE. LOS ANGELES (CINEMA MINIMA) — Legendary champion of Asian film Pierre Rissient will be present for Q+A with John Powers, following the screening in Hollywood of Todd McCarthy’s documentary PIERRE RISSIENT: MAN OF CINEMA on Saturday, June 23, 2012, at 10:10 AM at the Chinese 6 Theatres, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.

The event will be presented by the Look East Film Festival in honor of M. Rissent’s contributions to international cinema and his lifelong interest in Asian filmmaking. He has been particularly influential in the current Western interest in Korean cinema.

LA Femme Fest 2010. Tippi Hedren to introduce THE LAST ELEPHANTS OF THAILAND by Michelle Mizner, Don Tayloe

BY AUSTIN BURBRIDGE. LOS ANGELES (CINEMA MINIMA) — Movie star and animal-rights activist Tippi Hedren will introduce THE LAST ELEPHANTS OF THAILAND when it screens at the LA Femme Film Festival 2010 October 16 Saturday 6 PM in Hollywood. The movie documents the abuse of elephants in Thailand and elsewhere, while it tells the story of the first elephant hospital in Thailand.

In 1900 that Asian country boasted a hundred thousand elephants; in 2010, less than five thousand remain. THE LAST ELEPHANTS OF THAILAND retails the controversy about the fate of those few remaining Thai elephants. Some want to exploit them — making the great creatures perform tricks, parade in the streets, paint pictures, etc. Others want to protect the pachyderms from abuse and exploitation.

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Michelle Mizner — a California filmmaker — directed the movie with Don Tayloe, an American physician. It has been shown at the San Antonio Film Festival, the Bangkok IndieFest, and the Venice Green Screen Film Festival; it will compete at the United Nations Association Film Festival at Stanford University.

The LA Femme Film Festival runs 2010 October 14 – 17 in Hollywood. Tickets for the festival can be purchased online or at the box office.