From the opening scene, we are swept into a breathtaking aural experience as the orchestra’s score reveals a blustery Pennsylvania blizzard, inviting us into another world. A Musical Journey is an intimate portrait of the Palestinian oud and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen and his influential career as composer, performer and educator. Born into a musical family and educated at the Academy of Music in Jerusalem, Shaheen arrived in America in 1981 to a landscape where traditional Arab music was little known. His passion for and commitment to sharing the music’s complexities come to life as he teaches and performs in vibrant musical performances that energize the film. He’s like a Swiss army knife of talent and magnetism. says Roger Brown, president of the prestigious Berklee College of Music where Shaheen is now a professor. Because of Simon Shaheen, America is home to some of the best classical Arabic music being played in the world. That is certainly evident as we watch him here in action. — Tamara Pajic Lang
Followed by a live concert with: Simon Shaheen on oud and violin, Firas Zreik on qanun, Tareq Rantisi on percussion
BIO: Tarik Benbrahim is a New York-based filmmaker. He has directed and produced documentaries and works of fiction in North America, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He has worked with Vanessa Redgrave (Letters from New York to Sarajevo, 1996), Jerry Shcatzberg (Writer, The Girl Who Played Go, Michael Moore Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 911 French subtitles. Tarik Subtitled the 2004 re-release of The Battle of Algiers (1966) for Rialto pictures and for the Criterion Collection release of the film. He also Interviewed director Abbas Kiarostami in 2009 for the Criterion Collection release of the film Close Up (1990).
Tarik is currently developing Coffee, History in a Cup, a documentary about the history of coffee around the world and the stories and lives of coffee farmers.
Tarik is also an accomplished Oud player and musician. He has performed with Simon Shaheen, Walter Thompson, Butch Morris and Henry Threadgill’s Zooid (Pulitzer Prize Award for music 2016).
Woodstock Film Festival
is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music, and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning, and diversity. The
Hudson Valley Film Commission
promotes sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video and media production.