Private Project

Eleven Reflections on September

"Eleven Reflections on September" is a poetry, music, movement and digital media exploration of Arab American experience, Wars on/of Terror, and “the constant, quiet rain of death amidst beauty” that each autumn brings in a post-9/11 world. Based on a series of poems Andrea Assaf has written since 2001, "Eleven Reflections..." spans the fall of the Twin Towers, the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the global rise of anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia, and the revolutions and uprisings that have swept through the Arab world in the last decade. Aesthetically, the poems explore the disintegration of language in the face of violence, prejudice, and unspeakable horror, as they progress from lyrical to abstract and broken. The annual witnessing of autumn leaves becomes a metaphor for the fallen... As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, this ever-evolving tour de force finds new relevance and urgency.

Originally a live theatre production created for the stage, "Eleven Reflections on September" was re-created as a digital film in 2021, during the pandemic. It can be presented as a film, or as an immersive installation of projections in which live performance happens, or as a live theatrical production with an immersive projection design, or as an interactive web platform. As an experimental work that lives at the intersection of live performance and digital media, "Eleven Reflections on September" is beautiful, haunting, and truly genre-shattering.

  • Andrea Assaf
    Director
  • Andrea Assaf
    Writer
  • Art2Action, Inc.
    Producer
  • Andrea Assaf
    Key Cast
    "Poet"
  • Lubana Al Quntar
    Key Cast
    "Vocalist"
  • Eylem Basaldi
    Key Cast
    "Violinist"
  • April Centrone
    Key Cast
    "Percussionist/Oud Player"
  • Dora Arreola
    Key Cast
    "Movement Artist"
  • Eva Auster
    Digital Media Designer/Editor
  • Matt Eaton
    Sound Designer
  • Project Type:
    Performance, Installation, Other
  • Genres:
    Spoken Word, Poetry, Music, Middle Eastern Music, Drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 4 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
    Arabic, English
  • Student Project:
    No
  • The Carver Community Cultural Center
    San Antonio, TX
    United States
    May 1, 2021
    Online Premiere
  • Arab American National Museum - Arab Film Series
    Dearborn, MI
    United States
    September 11, 2021
    Online (Limited Run)
    Official Selection
  • Silk Road Film Awards Cannes
    Cannes
    France
    Best Experimental Feature (June 2021)
  • IndieFest Film Awards
    La Jolla, CA
    United States
    Award of Recognition
  • Montreal Independent Film Festival
    Montreal
    Canada
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • Art2Action, Inc.
    Distributor
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Andrea Assaf

Andrea Assaf is a performer, writer, director and cultural organizer. Andrea is the founding Artistic Director of Art2Action Inc., and a founding Co-Director of the National Institute for Directing & Ensemble Creation (a partnership with Pangea World Theater). Andrea is also a Trainer with Equity Quotient (EQ), an Artist-in-Residence/guest lecturer at the University of South Florida (USF) School of Theatre and Dance, and served as a Master Teacher for YoungArts (Writing/Performance, 2018-2020). Her original theatre work, "Eleven Reflections on September," has been featured at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) as part of CAATA’s 2016 National Asian American Theatre Festival, La MaMa ETC, The Apollo Theatre, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (2015), and internationally. In 2021, this work was re-created as a digital film. It will also be developed into a large-scale, multi-city, community-engaged devised series, "Eleven Reflections on the Nation," in partnership with The Carver Community Cultural Center, and with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Andrea’s other original theatre works include "Outside the Circle" (co-created with Dora Arreola and Samuel Valdez, 2012), "Fronteras Desviadas/Deviant Borders" co-created with Mujeres en Ritual Danza-Teatro (2005), and numerous devised works with veterans, refugees, and youth communities. Directing credits include "Speed Killed My Cousin" by Linda Parris-Bailey (The Carpetbag Theater, 2014-2019), "9 Parts of Desire" by Heather Raffo (University of South Florida, 2015), "breaking letter(s)" by Suhier Hammad (New WORLD Theater, 2008), and many more. Awards include: 2019 NEFA National Theatre Project, 2019 & 2011 NPN Creation Fund Commissions, 2017 Finalist for the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism (Split This Rock Poetry Festival), 2010 Princess Grace/Gant Gaither Theatre Award for Directing, and 2007 Hedgebrook Residency for "women authoring change." Andrea has a Master’s degree in Performance Studies and a BFA in Acting, both from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She is a former Artistic Director of New WORLD Theater (2004-09), and Program Associate for Animating Democracy (2001-04). She currently serves on the Board of the Consortium of Asian American Theatres & Artists (CAATA), Alternate ROOTS, and is a founding Steering Committee member of the Middle Eastern/North African Theatre-Makers Alliance (MENATMA). For more information, visit: https://www.art2action.org/artists/Andrea-Assaf

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Director Statement

With over 25 years of experience as a theatre director, this is my first foray into the world of film, via the exploration of virtual and digital media during the pandemic. I am extremely excited to submit this project, the digital film version of my seminal work, "Eleven Reflections on September," for consideration in film festivals. It does not fit neatly into any category: it is feature length, but non-narrative. This work assumes our lived experience of the historical and political meta-narrative that we have all lived under since 9/11/2001, and responds to it from an Arab American point of view. It is experimental--a hybrid work bridging live performance, digital animation, concert music, and Spoken Word. The spoken text is in English, but sung lyrics are in mostly in Arabic. It includes documentary footage in some scenes, but it is not documentary--it is poetry. I believe this is a groundbreaking work, in that it emerges at the intersection of theatre and digital media; it is a new genre. And I would love to reach new audiences, as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and re-emerge from a global pandemic, to engage film viewers across the U.S. and world in creatively reflecting on the post-9/11 era with us.