July 28, 2010

Bahrain Screenings and Events

Senior Project Advisor Zaheer Ali will be accompanying NEW MUSLIM COOL for a series of screenings and discussions in Bahrain next week.  Check back here for his blog entries.

March 13, 2010

Headed to the UK

It’s been a busy winter so far.  The film has shown at major festivals in Dhaka, Ankara, Istanbul, and we won the Premio Mesquite for Best Documentary at the CineFestival in San Antonio, TX, the oldest Latino film festival in the United States.

Hamza, Jen, Suad, Hana, Zaheer, Kauthar, Munir, and other members of our team of family and friends have also been showing the film and speaking at universities across the country, such as Penn, Yale, NYU and University of Wisconsin.  We’ve been privileged to do these events and have a lot more coming this spring, plus our first screenings and workshops in correctional facilities.

We’ve teamed up with Bakari Kitwana and Rap Sessions for a traveling panel focusing on race, class, culture and civil rights, with support from Campus Progress and Active Voice.  We”ve had some incredible conversations with diverse folks around the country at these special screenings and panels and Rap Sessions is still booking more events so please contact them if you’d like us to come to your school.

And now Jen and Hamza are off to London for a week of screenings, workshops, and discussions!

We’ll have our long-awaited UK festival premiere at the Bradford International Film Festival in Yorkshire, a special screening in Glasgow hosted by Salaam Scotland, and lots of other great events organized by Faith Matters, a non-profit organization dedicated to conflict resolution and problem-solving.

Most of the events are free, and all should be intense and engaging - so we hope to see our UK friends there!


January 27, 2010

Upcoming Events

Check our Screenings and Events page for a lot of upcoming activities this month and next.  If you are planning a New Muslim Cool community or campus screening let us know and we’ll post it here!

Azizah Magazine


The award-winning Azizah Magazine just did a great story about New Muslim Cool’s all-women production team with first-person accounts by co-producers Hana Siddiqi and Kauthar Umar!

Check it out on newstands or online!

December 3, 2009

Great Review

Heather Brown of the on-line Feminist Review did a really lovely piece on New Muslim Cool recently.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Without giving too much away, Taylor’s eighty-six-minute film brings Hamza’s journey as a husband, father, son, brother, artist, and man of faith into your living room in a way that will fully engross and inspire reflection—regardless of where you are coming from spiritually.”

Read the full review here.

December 2, 2009

Cool picture

Nice pic taken by SF-based photographer Steve Rhodes at the San Francisco International Film Festival in May of this year, at our standing-room only panel discussion called “Truth, Youth, and the New Muslim Cool.”  It was so great that the Festival hosted this event after our sold-out premiere screening in the big house at the Sundance Kabuki Cinema!


This shot shows filmmaker Raeshma Razvi, artist and activist Hamza Pérez, imam and musician Yassir Chadley, and filmmaker Mustafa Davis.  Writer Yahsmin Binti BoBo, NMC director Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, and NMC Senior Advisor Munir Jiwa were there too.


December 1, 2009

Around the World

It’s been a busy few months for the New Muslim Cool team as we’ve fanned out around the world to share the film and have conversations with an incredibly diverse array of audiences in places as far-flung as Russia, Italy, Philadelphia, Boston, London, Amsterdam, Rochester, and more.  

December will see the film screened in Los Angeles and Jerusalem, and in January we’ll be screening in Dhaka, Bangladesh and New York  City with TONS of screenings and events coming up all throughout 2010.

As soon as we catch our breath we’ll post field reports and photos from some of the places we’ve been visiting so check back soon.

October 12, 2009

Lots of screenings

This past Saturday night the Pluralism Project at Harvard University hosted a screening of the film in an event c0-sponsored by Active Voice and a host of great community partners.  Hamza was there in person and reported in that it was one of the best screenings we’ve done yet.    Thanks to all who attended!

And if you are in Northern Italy this week, or Los Angeles, check out NEW MUSLIM COOL at these festivals: Religion Today and Los Angles Latino International Film Festival.

We have very BIG international festival news coming soon, so please stay tuned.

October 9, 2009

Interfaith Meetings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh interfaith organizers Carol Elkind and Luqmon Abdus Salaam, who both appear in the film, recently wrote to us to say the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee set up a Muslim-Jewish dialogue group and the first meeting was a success, with plans for joint community service projects.  We’ll hope to have more news from this important group soon!

Hamza and Luqmon address an interfaith gathering






October 8, 2009

New Muslim Cool in Russia

By director/producer Jennifer Maytorena Taylor


I’m just back from a great international event – the Fifth Annual Golden Minbar Film Festival in Russia. Set in Kazan, the beautiful capital city of the republic of Tatarstan some 450 miles east of Moscow, the Golden Minbar is billed as the world’s biggest festival of Muslim cinema.

But to me the Golden Minbar Festival seemed much more than that. The films in the features, documentaries, and shorts categories came from all over the world, and not all were explicitly (or even implicitly) about Islam or Muslim issues.


The over-arching themes instead were about dialogue, crossing borders, globalization and displacement, and learning about each other in this complicated world far past our preconceived ideas. There were films dealing with Soviet history and Tatar traditions, Middle Eastern and Iranian history and contemporary issues, immigration, and the plight of children in Afghanistan, Africa, and Latin America.

Many of the films were somber, revealing deep anxieties and fissures between industrialized and developing countries.  And yet the mood of the event itself was optimistic and even joyous, as participants gathered across national and religious lines of all kinds to see the films and learn about each other’s worlds.


Filmmakers and films came from such far-flung places as Iran, Bahrain, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Israel — and at any given time a group of people would represent at least six or seven countries. The audiences came from the very diverse communities that make up the city of Kazan –Russian, Tatar, Muslim, Christian, and many more.

I was amazed and delighted by the intense audience reactions to NEW MUSLIM COOL –the only documentary set in the United States – and was especially thrilled to see how many older people turned out for the film and really seemed to get it. They were really moved by the story of Hamza and his family and community, and all of the inter-faith and inter-community storylines.


The festival closed with a fabulous over-the-top gala featuring dancers and musicians in some very high production numbers mixing Vegas flash and Tatarstan tradition. We all got to ride for a block in limousines and emerge on the red carpet to legions of shouting fans – a definite first and likely a last for this documentary filmmaker.

So from all of us at NEW MUSLIM COOOL, thank you for that once-in-a-lifetime experience, Golden Minbar!