Updated: May 16, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11
in the Age of Digital Theater
Eleven Reflections on September is an “absolutely stunning experimental film
that touches the soul.” – Silk Road Film Awards Cannes
September 1, 2021 – Memories of 9/11 elicit horrific images of New York’s iconic Twin Towers collapsing, forming thick clouds of smoke and ash, with panic-stricken New Yorkers running for shelter, stunned and confused about what exactly was taking place. The unimaginable had indeed happened, and the landscape was forever changed. Eleven Reflections on September explores the ripple effects of change, not only in the New York landscape, but in our national policies, and the legacy of two decades of war. Through poetry, digital media and music, Eleven Reflections on September explores Arab American experience, wars on and of terror, and “the constant, quiet rain of death amidst beauty” that each autumn brings in a post-9/11 world. Based on a series of poems written since 2001 by Lebanese American theatre artist Andrea Assaf, this epic work explores the disintegration of language in the face of violence, prejudice, and unspeakable horror; as such, the poems progress from lyrical to abstract and fractured, with the annual witnessing of autumn leaves becoming a metaphor for the fallen. Approaching the 20th anniversary of 9/11/2001, Assaf’s organization, Art2Action Inc., has embarked on a new initiative, “Eleven Reflections on the Nation,” supported in part by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art “Building Bridges” program, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the tragedy and reflecting on its aftermath, with communities across the country and world.
During the pandemic, the live performance was reimagined and beautifully rendered into an award-winning digital film, featuring music by Syrian vocalist Lubana Al Quntar, Turkish American violinist Eylem Basaldi, with percussion and oud by April Centrone, movement by Dora Arreola, digital design by Eva Auster, and sound design by Matt Eaton. Told through the eyes of this exceptional international collaboration team, the film flawlessly blends theatrical performance with high quality digital production to create a multimedia, genre-bending, immersive experience. Awards and recognitions include: Best Experimental Feature, Silk Road Film Awards Cannes (France); Award of Recognition, IndieFest Awards (La Jolla, CA); Official Selection, Montreal Independent Film Festival (Canada); Official Selection, 18th Oakland International Film Festival (CA). Premiered by The Carver Community Cultural Center in May 2021, the digital film will be re-released by the Arab American National Museum’s Arab Film Series in September.
Throughout the month of September, and through Fall 2021, Art2Action and partners will present “Eleven Reflections on the Nation” events, offering a variety of ways for local and national audiences across the U.S. to personally engage in community-building, commemoration, and reflection. Participants are invited to share their own personal experiences, building on a national conversation, with new generations. In-person and online events include Story Circles, Script Readings, Dialogues, Digital Film Screenings, Auditions/Interviews, and a national call for Video Stories. Fall activities will culminate in a new, city-specific, multimedia devised theatre production, Eleven Reflections: San Antonio, presented by The Carver Community Cultural Center, with an online video festival of “Eleven Reflections on the Nation” forthcoming.
EVENTS AT A GLANCE
National Call for Videos & Stories (through Fall 2021)
In partnership with Art2Action, the Arab American National Museum hosts an online submission form for Arab and Middle Eastern American community members, or anyone who has a post-9/11 story to share, to contribute to a growing national archive.
Submit Your Story: https://forms.gle/D1Vrkb5ErHy8Lqtm9
Sept 3, 12-1pm EDT
WMNF (virtual) interview with film director and Art2Action, Inc. founder Andrea Assaf
Art in Your Ear: https://www.wmnf.org/events/art-in-your-ear/
Sept 8-9 (by appointment)
11Reflections: San Antonio Auditions / Interviews for artists and community members based in San Antonio, TX, n partnership with The Carver Community Cultural Center. https://www.art2action.org/events-1/auditions-interviews-for-11reflections-san-antonio
Sept 9-16, on demand
Digital Film: Eleven Reflections on September
Limited online screenings, on demand, as part of the Arab Film Series presented by the Arab American National Museum, ArteEast, and the Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI).
Post-film discussion featuring Andrea Assaf and Lubana Al Quntar, moderated by Leila Buck, available after September 13 as part of the film package.
11am-1pm EDT – 9/11 Story Circle (virtual) in partnership with The Carver Community Cultural Center. Free and open to the public via online registration: https://www.art2action.org/events-1/9-11-story-circle
5-6pm EDT – A Village Gathering (in-person) at AIDS Memorial Park, 76 Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY 10011. Featuring Heather Raffo reading from Eleven Reflections on September, James Scruggs, and the “20 Years Later” project. Presented by Art2Action, Greenwich House Music School, The New York City AIDS Memorial, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and Village Preservation. Registration requested but not required.
Sept 14, 7-8:30pm EDT
Reflection Session #13: The 20th Anniversary (virtual) featuring nationally acclaimed poet, songwriter, and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye, presented by The Carver. Registration:
Sept 17, 3-4:30pm EDT
Livestream of the 9/11 Village Gathering (above), film by Kacey Anisa, followed by a live conversation with the artists, on HowlRound Theatre Commons: https://howlround.com/
Nov 20, 2021
Eleven Reflections: San Antonio – ticketed event presented by The Carver Community Cultural Center. Check the website for updates: https://thecarver.org/
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