Do you Speak Comedy? Humour Crossing Borders
Laughter is truly the universal language, from "Ha-ha" (Swaziland) to "Ha, eh?" (Canada) to "Ah-ha" (Norway). Sometimes humour is just silly and crude, but sometimes the power of comedy is wielded in the name of social satire and political subversiveness. The special guests at this panel, including creators and performers behind the comedies in this year's DTFF film lineup, will discuss how the sword of humour is unsheathed worldwide, with a particular focus on the Middle East. There'll be clips of some classic comic moments, and maybe even a special guest or two. This event is open to the public and Arabic interpretation headsets will be available. Tickets can be purchased at any box office location.
Journalist and Producer, Self-Employed
Kaleem Aftab is a journalist and producer. He wrote the critically acclaimed biography on Spike Lee: “That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It,” and regularly contributes to The Independent, The National, and Interview Magazine. As a producer, he has worked on a number of award-winning short films and recently produced “Thoughtful Geezer.” He was also an associate producer on Zeina Durra's first feature, “The Imperialists Are Still Alive.”
Director, Just Like Us
A stand-up comedian who tours the globe, Ahmed was born in Helwan, Egypt, and as a child moved to the United States where he grew up in Riverside, California. At 19, he moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as an actor-comedian and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Ahmed can be seen in films and television shows including “Iron Man,” “You Don't Mess With The Zohan,” “Swingers,” “Roseanne,” “JAG,” and MTV's “Punk’d.” In addition, Ahmed appears in” City of Life,” the first feature to be shot entirely in Dubai, and he was the recipient of the first annual Richard Pryor Award at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in Scotland. Along with fellow comedians Maz Jobrani and Aron Kaider, Mr. Ahmed created the “Axis of Evil” comedy tour and performed to sold-out audiences through the Middle East. Mr. Ahmed made his directorial debut with the documentary “Just Like Us,” which chronicles the tour.
Director, The Runway
Graduating with first class honours and a Masters of Arts in Film in Dublin’s D.I.T. Aungier St. in 1999, Ian Power followed his graduation film with the 15-minute short film “Buskers,” which scooped first prize at a number of international film festivals.
He began directing commercials in 2001 and has won numerous awards for his work. Previous clients include BT, The National Lottery, RTE, Axa, Invest NI, and Three Mobile. In 2004 he won a Short Cuts Award to make “The Wonderful Story of Kelvin Kind,” which was picked up by Warner Bros. for a nationwide theatrical release in January, 2005. In April, the film won Best Short Drama at The Celtic Film & Television Festival in Cardiff. In 2009, Power wrote and directed “The Runway,” his first feature-length film starring Demian Bichir, Kerry Condon, and James Cosmo. “The Runway” premiered at The Galway Film Fleadh in 2010 and picked up the award for Best Irish Feature.
New Zealander Taika Waititi has been involved in the arts for several years as A visual artist, actor, writer and director. Taika’s first short film, “Two Cars, One Night,” was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. His next short, “Tama Tu” about a group of Maori soldiers in Italy during World War II, won a string of international awards. His first feature, “Eagle vs. Shark,” was released internationally by Miramax IN 2007. As a performer and comedian, Waititi has a strong background in comedy writing, performance, and stand-upcomedy. With fellow comedian Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”), he won New Zealand’s top comedy award, the “Billy T,” and also the “Spirit of the Fringe Award” in Edinburgh. “Boy” is Waititi’s second feature which, since its release, has become New Zealand’s highest grossing local film of all time.
Director, Man Without A Cellphone
Sameh Zoabi was born and raised in Iksal, a Palestinian village near the city of Nazareth, Israel, in 1975. In 1998, Zoabi graduated from Tel Aviv University with a dual degree in Film Studies and English Literature. The following year, Zoabi was awarded a merit scholarship to pursue a Master’s Degree. In February 2005, he completed his Masters of Fine Arts in Film Direction at Columbia’s School of the Arts. Zoabi’s previous short film, “Be Quiet,” won Third Place honors at the Cinefondation Selection during the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Filmmaker Magazine named Zoabi one of the Top 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema. “Man Without a Cellphone” is his feature debut.