38th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival - April 4-20, 2019Spotlight: Chasms and Bridges

As our world gets smaller, current affairs have unified some while dividing others, causing fissures among families, states, countries and continents. While the news media sifts through the facts and alternative facts, artists have emerged as the filter for the stories and assessments of the moment, with filmmakers on the front lines.

For 2018, our Spotlight on the World is Chasms and Bridges: Cinema and the Search for Common Ground, tackling the difficult lines that divide us and the dramatic potential for reconciliation and compassion. This special series of titles—including ten selected for our Spotlight Competition—and related panel discussions and workshops, are designed to open up a discourse on the social and ideological divides and shifting social order shaping our world today.

Such stories can be found in fiction: A Syrian outsider finds both love and bigotry in Finland (A Moment in the Reeds); a powerful business woman comes face-to-face with the glass ceiling (Number One); classes clash in Iran as a minor accident turns into major tragedy (No Date, No Signature). And non-fiction: Delve into the day-to-day life of radical Islamist family (Of Father and Sons); see the 2016 US election from the Russian perspective (Our New President); take a frustrating look at the corruption inside the NYPD (Crime + Punishment).

Highlighting the distinct identities of and commonalities among diverse cultures, these films will take us on a journey across geography, history, age, gender, social and political issues and the complexities of human relationships, bridging differences to find common ground.





Lana Barkawi
Lana Barkawi is Mizna’s executive and artistic director and the executive editor of the literary journal published by the organization, Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America. In addition to the journal, Mizna’s other main programs are the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival and Arabic language and drumming classes, as well as the occasional provocative public art project. Lana’s interest in fostering a local, national, and international space for Arab art and community has brought Mizna in partnership with many artists and organizations to present creative work that creates change.

Additionally, Lana has served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Knight Foundation, among others, and currently serves on the board of St. Paul’s Cultural STAR Program.
Lily Maria Percy Ruiz
Born in Cali, Colombia, Liliana Maria immigrated to Miami with her family at the age of four, and studied English Literature and Film Studies at Florida International University. She has worked as an associate editor at MovieMaker magazine, and as a producer for StoryCorps and NPR’s All Things Considered on the weekends, where she produced the series Movies I’ve Seen A Million Times.

Currently, Liliana Maria is the executive producer of On Being Studios, home of the podcasts On Being with Krista Tippett (also a public radio show), as well as Becoming Wise, and This Movie Changed Me. She also hosts the latter, which features fans talking about the transformative power of movies.
Robin Hickman
“Robin P. Hickman’s film work includes the HBO mini-series, Laurel Avenue, and Emmy and NAACP Image Award-nominated, Half Past Autumn: The Life and Work of Gordon Parks, a documentary on the life of her great-uncle. She also worked for many years at Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) as Executive Producer of Community Affairs Programming. She developed and managed local and national public affairs programming, documentaries and community outreach initiatives, including Emmy-winning Don’t Believe the HYPE, and NAACP Image Award nominee, HOOP Dreams Reunion.

She has served on many national media arts review panels and presented at numerous national convenings, as well as worked with many public broadcasting initiatives, including work with Bill Moyers’ Public Affairs Productions, POV’s RACE Initiative, the National Black Programming Consortium and PBS’s Act Against Violence campaign.

Currently, Robin is the CEO and Executive Producer of SoulTouch Productions, a television and film production, youth development programming and community partnership consulting organization. The mission of SoulTouch is to make meaningful media and produce powerful social impact experiences.”