GOOD TALK WITH FILMMAKER MUSTAFA ZENO

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Mustafa Zeno is a filmmaker and photographer who grew up in Aleppo, Syria and now lives in his birthplace, Los Angeles. He is particularly interested in fringes and hyphens in identity, culture and religion. Mustafa's GOOD TALK focuses on immigration, assimilation, identity, culture, religion and the Arab American experience. Mustafa recently co-produced Dalya’s Other Country, a timely documentary about his family that follows the real life challenges of his sister Dalya, a displaced Syrian teenager, and their family. Shot over four years as the Syrian civil war uprooted millions, this highly acclaimed film comes at an important time as America focuses on its immigration and refugee policies. Dalya, the only Muslim at a private Catholic high school in Los Angeles, must straddle her two worlds while navigating her teenage years and her religious faith. Dalya comes across as an ordinary Southern California teenager. She takes selfies and goes to prom. She plays sports and hangs out at the mall. She is also the only student at her high school who wears a hijab. While Dalya’s mother Rudayna is tasked with redefining herself after leaving both her country and husband, Mustafa takes on the role of ushering the family through their resettlement. Viewers are brought into the intimate world of this family as Dalya and her family tackle the complex experiences of immigration, assimilation, divorce and feminism. Most recently Mustafa was a producer on the interactive documentary KTOWN’92 that explores the 1992 Los Angeles riots through the stories of greater Koreatown, directed by Grace Lee. Mustafa teaches Levantine Arabic and film at an Orthodox Jewish high school and is a ‘NewGround Muslim-Jewish Fellowship’ alum. Mustafa was formerly director of the Arab Film Festival in Los Angeles.