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“The Light In Her Eyes”
Tweetable Logline: Documentary film about an inspiring female Qur’an teacher giving women and girls the tools to challenge cultural traditions in Damascus, Syria.
Elevator Pitch: Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, Syria when she was just 17 years old. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam, in addition to their secular schooling. A surprising cultural shift is underway—women are claiming space within the mosque, a place historically dominated by men.
Challenging tradition, Houda insists education for women is a form of worship. Using Qur’anic teachings, she encourages her students to pursue higher education, jobs, and public lives, while remaining committed to an interpretation of Islam prioritizing women’s role as wives and mothers. In a world rarely seen, “The Light In Her Eyes” tells the story of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, the film is an exclusive look at a social movement thriving in a country controlled by a repressive regime.
Producers: Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix
Directors: Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix
Editor: Monique Zavistovski and Nathaniel Fregoso
Cinematography: Julia Meltzer and Anne Etheridge
About the production:
“We find that the media discusses the Islamic revival a great deal, but it mostly focuses on the extremist and militant branch, and ignores the moderates. Most importantly, no one is addressing the enormous role that women are playing in contributing to the growth of moderate Islam and what impact this might have on the region in the future. In addition to the Arab Spring, it’s one of the most important social movements in the region, and is largely an untold story. Julia met Houda when she was a Fulbright scholar in Damascus in 2005, and it took a couple years for Houda to allow us to shoot in the mosque. We shot in the summers from 2008-2010.” — Laura Nix
The film is currently in post-production and they are aiming to finish the film by the end of 2011, with a festival release in 2012.
Check out the film’s website here.
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