Jehane is a filmmaker of both Arab and American origins (in the talk she puts this more eloquently than this: “I am the Middle East crisis in one person”). She is well known for her documentaries like Control Room (which gave us an inside view of Al Jazeera TV and US Central Command’s media operation at the outbreak of the 2003 Iraq war) and Startup.com (which documents the rise and fall of a dot com startup).
In her TED presentation Jehane recounts her experience with the power of the image and film to change peope’s understanding of each other. She shows snippets of her own film and others like Pardise Now and Encounter Points.
She makes a wish: â€œI want to bring the world together for one day a year through the power of film.â€ For that purposed she started an organization called Pangaea Cinema Day (named after the vast land-mass that preceded the separation of earth into individual continents – which will project films from independent film makers across the world on a single day, making it possible for people to experience a collective feeling of ‘virtual travel’ into other cultures.
Jehane’s wish is making progress. On May 10, 2008 the first Pangea Day will be held. You can track the progress towards the event on it’s web site.
I can relate a lot to people like Jehane. People with a bi-cultural understanding of today’s world may have something profound to offer a world held hostage by hardened hearts and entrenched mentalities. It was great to find her TED video and get to hear more about her background, work and ideas.
I had a pleasure of briefly being introduced to Jehane during last year’s World Economic Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, where I saw her filming politicians for an upcoming documentary.
I highly recommend watching the video. Also read what Ethan Zuckerman has written about her TED talk.
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