The following is a filmography for director Iara Lee. It is divided into the following sections:
For a list of films by theme and region, click here.
For more information about Iara Lee, click here.
For other films and mixed media projects from Caipirinha Productions, click here.
Cultures of Resistance Short Films:
Since 2010, Cultures of Resistance Films has released more than forty shorts that highlight a variety of social and economic issues.
- The Kalasha and the Crescent (2013)
- Muslimgauze: Chasing the Shadow of Bryn Jones (2013)
- Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara (2011)
- Iara Lee's UN Press Conference (2011)
- CoR Director Iara Lee Testifies to the UN on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla (2011)
- The Rape of the Samburu Women (2011)
- Opposing Violence Towards Iran (2011)
- Americas Social Forum (2011)
- Gatwitch Festival: Showcasing a New Generation of African Artists and Activists (2011)
- Building Beyond Conflict: Inspiring Congolese Kids for a Brighter Future (2011)
- MV Bill: Peace to the Favelas (Brazil) (2011)
- Love Boat or Hate Boat? An Interview with IHH (2011)
- Papa Wemba: Singing for a Brighter Congo (2011)
- An Interview with Afghanistan's First Female Governor: Dr. Habiba Sorabi (2011)
- Women Beyond War: A World March in Africa (2011)
- Lexxus Legal: Hip Hop for Social Change (2011)
- Saffron Revolution: A Nonviolent Army for Democracy (2011)
- Militarism, Mutilation, Minerals: Understanding the Occupation of Afghanistan (2011)
- Picture Afghanistan: Teaching Photojournalism in a War-Torn Country (2011)
- Thembo Kash: Cartooning for Justice DRC/Congo (2011)
- Coalition of the Billing: An Interview with Jeremy Scahill (2011)
- Fire in the Delta: The Struggle Against Shell in Nigeria (2011)
- Another Failed Drug War: Poppy Eradication in Afghanistan (2011)
- Skateistan! (2010)
- A Day with Lowkey and Shadia Mansour (2010)
- Festival au Desert: Playing for Peace in the Sahara (2010)
- The Women's Colloquium in Liberia: Gender Equality in Africa (2010)
- Palestine: Uprising Against Occupation (2010)
- Andre Cypriano: Guns & Slums Photographer (Brazil) (2010)
- Breaking the Silence: Congo Week (2010)
- The Transformation of a Drug Capital: The Medellín Poetry Festival (2010)
- The Courage of Neighbors: Stories from the Rwandan Genocide (2010)
- Banning Cluster Bombs: The Campaign and Treaty (2010)
- Hassan Samedi: Cartoons Against Corruption (2010)
- A Look at Global Militarism (2010)
- The Yes Men: Pranksters Against War (USA) (2010)
- Miatta Fahnbulleh: Educating the Next Generation (Liberia) (2010)
- Fishing Under Fire (2010)
- Tehran Ratz: Graffiti for a New Iran (2010)
- Rami Farah: Anti-Occupation Films (2010)
- Gaza Freedom March 2009 (2010)
- César López: Turning Guns into Guitars (Colombia) (2010)
- Katibe 5: Rapping Against Occupation (2010)
- Hands Off Gaza (2010)
- Battle for the Xingu (2010)
- We Sing Together, Why Should We Fight? The KWETU Festival in Uganda (2010)
Other Short Films:
- Burkinabé Rising (2017), currently in post-production, showcases nonviolent creative resistance in Burkina Faso. A small, landlocked country in West Africa, Burkina Faso is home to a vibrant community of artists and engaged citizens, and provides an example of the type of political change that can be achieved when people come together. It is an inspiration, not only to the rest of Africa but also to the rest of the world.
- Life Is Waiting (2015) chronicles the conflict over self-determination in Western Sahara. Most people think that colonialism in Africa has ended. But in the territory of Western Sahara, the end of European rule only gave way to a new occupation, this time by Morocco. Forty years later, the world continues to look the other way as the Sahrawi people face arrests, torture, and disappearances for demanding their independence. What will it take for the people of Western Sahara to reverse decades of broken promises and gain their freedom? What lessons does Sahrawi resistance offer for nonviolent movements around the world? In Life Is Waiting, join an incredible cast of Sahrawi activists and artists as they offer their answers. 59 minutes.
- K2 and the Invisible Footmen (2015) documents the unsung efforts of the indigenous porters who for decades have facilitated the ascent of the Earth's second-highest mountain. The film also follows the first official all-Pakistani climbing team, made up of former porters. This team successfully summited in 2014, on the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of the mountain. Amid breathtaking scenery, the film depicts the everyday sacrifices of porters and the courage of those indigenous climbers who choose to return to scale K2 in spite of past tragedies. In their striving to perfect their craft, these mountaineers provide a fresh look into the cultures and national traditions of Pakistan, a country typically portrayed in the foreign media as merely a land of conflict and sectarian strife.
- The Suffering Grasses (2012) examines the ongoing conflict in Syria from the perspective of its refugees. Against the backdrop of the Arab Spring and the complicated politics of the region, this film seeks to explore the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced by the Syrian conflict. In all such conflicts, large and small, it is civilians—women and children, families and whole communities—who suffer at the leisure of those in power and get caught in the crossfire of the hegemons. When elephants go to war, it is the grass that suffers! 52 minutes.
- Cultures of Resistance (2010) explores how art and creativity can be ammunition in the battle for peace and justice. Does each gesture really make a difference? Can music and dance be weapons of peace? In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, director Iara Lee embarked on a journey to better understand a world increasingly embroiled in conflict and, as she saw it, heading for self-destruction. After several years, travelling over five continents, Iara encountered growing numbers of people who committed their lives to promoting change. This is their story. 72 minutes.
- Modulations: Cinema for the Ear (1998) races the evolution of Electronica music as one of the most profound artistic developments of the 20th century. 1 hour 13 minutes.
- Synthetic Pleasures (1995) is an exhilarating and disturbing exploration into the ways that human beings are using technology, from body piercing to bionics, to transform our environments, bodies, and minds in search of pleasure that raises issues nobody can afford to ignore. 1 hour 23 minutes.
- The Kalasha and the Crescent (2013) examines the challenges faced by the Kalash people of northern Pakistan, who are struggling to retain their cultural identity under the combined pressures of poverty, tourism, and religious tension. In May 2013, director Iara Lee traveled to the Chitral valley to document the Kalash spring festival, Joshi. The Kalasha and the Crescent uses the festival as an entry point into this vibrant community and the tough questions facing it. What does conversion to Islam—whether forced or spontaneous—mean for Kalash identity? Can Kalash traditions withstand the challenges brought by globalization on the one hand and by religious tensions on the other? Join members of the Kalash community and observers from around the world as they reckon with these questions. 12 minutes.
- Muslimgauze: Chasing the Shadow of Bryn Jones (2013) features a trailer created by Cultures of Resistance Films to preview author Ibrahim Khider's new book, which celebrates the artist’s politically motivated craft. 4 minutes.
- Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara (2011) features raw footage of the May 31, 2010, attack by Israeli naval forces on ships bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. 1 hour.
- Iara Lee's UN Press Conference (2011) shows the opening statement and highlights from CoR Director Iara Lee's June 2010 press conference at the United Nations in New York, during which she presented the raw footage of the Mavi Marmara attack. 13 minutes.
- CoR Director Iara Lee Testifies to the UN on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla (2011) includes excerpts of footage from the attack on the Mavi Marmara and of Iara Lee's testimony at the United Nations on June 10, 2010. Despite the Israeli government’s efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Lee and CoR Director of Photography Srdjan Stojiljkovic were able to retain some of the video they captured. 3 minutes.
- The Rape of the Samburu Women (2011) illuminates the situation facing women in the Samburu region of Kenya, where England has maintained military training facilities for more than fifty years. During this period, women in the area have faced an epidemic of rape. This film visits the brave women of Senchen, who speak candidly about their suffering and talk passionately about their demands for justice. 12 minutes.
- Opposing Violence Towards Iran (2011) features interviews with a number of Iranian artists who recalled their people's history of suffering from foreign intervention and who demonstrate their commitment to peace. 5 minutes.
- Americas Social Forum (2011) documents the 2008 Americas Social Forum in Guatemala, where over 7,000 delegates from 350 organizations gathered to discuss how to bring about a more democratic, equitable, and just world. 4 minutes.
- Gatwitch Festival: Showcasing a New Generation of African Artists and Activists (2011) documents the exciting discussion that took place at the 2010 Gatwitch Festival and the sense of hope that emerged. 6 minutes.
- Building Beyond Conflict: Inspiring Congolese Kids for a Brighter Future (2011) takes a brief look into how small, grassroots organizations put into action their faith in the regenerative power of sports, music, dance, and the arts as a means of helping young people recover from the effects of a brutal civil war. 6 minutes.
- MV Bill: Peace to the Favelas (Brazil) (2011) documents the work of hip-hop artist MV Bill, who calls out Rio's heavy-handed approach to policing the favelas and promotes a more human alternative: engaging youth in the arts. 3 minutes.
- Love Boat or Hate Boat? An Interview with IHH (2011) features an original interview with the vice president of Turkish-NGO IHH, who highlights the true humanitarian work of his organization. 5 minutes.
- Papa Wemba: Singing for a Brighter Congo (2011) features an original interview with the legendary singer in which he talks about his music, the future of his country’s politics, and the tensions between politicians and artists in Africa. 3 minutes.
- An Interview with Afghanistan's First Female Governor: Dr. Habiba Sorabi (2011) features an original interview in which Sorabi discusses how she fearlessly stands up against the Taliban and speaks out on behalf of other women seeking political representation. 3 minutes.
- Women Beyond War: A World March in Africa (2011) documents the 2010 World March of Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 5 minutes.
- Lexxus Legal: Hip Hop for Social Change (2011) profiles a Congolese rapper encouraging people to express their anger through music, rather than violence. 3 minutes.
- Saffron Revolution: A Nonviolent Army for Democracy (2011) explores the impediments to democratic reform in Burma and highlights the brave leaders of the 2007 Saffron Revolution. 4 minutes.
- Militarism, Mutilation, and Minerals: Understanding the Occupation of Afghanistan (2011) allows women in Afghanistan to give voice to their reasons for opposing the U.S. occupation. 4 minutes.
- Picture Afghanistan: Teaching Photojournalism in a War-Torn Country (2011) features the 3rd Eye Photojournalism Center, which trains young Afghanis to work with cameras, set up websites, and critically evaluate depictions of their communities. 3 minutes.
- Thembo Kash: Cartooning for Justice DRC/Congo (2011) profiles a Congolese illustrator who focuses his work on two themes: the corruption that plagues his country's government and the exploitation of natural resources by foreign corporations. 4 minutes.
- Coalition of the Billing: An Interview with Jeremy Scahill (2011) features an exclusive interview with award-winning journalist Jeremy Scahill in which he discusses the growing use of mercenaries by the United States government and the most recent stage of the military-industrial complex's evolution. 4 minutes.
- Fire in the Delta: The Struggle Against Shell in Nigeria (2011) shows Shell's deplorable conduct in the Niger Delta and documents the feelings of local residents who have seen their communities damaged by the resource extraction. 5 minutes.
- Another Failed Drug War: Poppy Eradication in Afghanistan (2011) takes an on-the-ground look at the issue of opium production in Afghanistan and features interviews with Afghan women who have overcome addiction but who speak to the economic realities that contribute to the persistence of the drug trade. 4 minutes.
- Skateistan! (2010) profiles Afghanistan's first co-ed skateboarding school. Founded in 2007 by Oliver Percovich, Skateistan provides girls with the same opportunities that are afforded to boys and offers a safe space in which they can develop a sense of freedom. 3 minutes.
- A Day with Lowkey and Shadia Mansour (2010) follows Iraqi rapper Lowkey and Palestinian lyricist Shadia Mansour at a book tour stop, where they discuss Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, and then to the studio, where they talk about the convergence of their music and political activism. 6 minutes.
- Festival au Desert: Playing for Peace in the Sahara (2010) highlights the 2009 Festival au Desert's approach to promoting cross-cultural expression as a means of overcoming the threat of divisive conflict. 4 minutes.
- The Women's Colloquium in Liberia: Gender Equality in Africa (2010) captures the energy of the 2009 International Colloquium for Women's Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security, where 800 female participants gathered to envision a new era of peace and gender equality in Africa and beyond. 3 minutes.
- Palestine: Uprising Against Occupation (2010) showcases the artists and activists that are rising up to assert Palestinian self-determination. 6 minutes.
- Andre Cypriano: Guns & Slums Photographer (Brazil) (2010) profiles Brazilian native Andre Cypriano, whose work reveals the humanity of those living in the country's largest slum. 3 minutes.
- Breaking the Silence: Congo Week (2010) features the work of our ally Friends of the Congo, which strives to support Congolese insitutions working for peace and raise awareness of the ongoing war in the region. 3 minutes.
- The Transformation of a Drug Capital: The Medellín Poetry Festival (2010) documents some of the readings from the 2008 Medellín International Poetry Festival and highlights performers talking about the use of poetry as a tool for promoting peace and justice. 5 minutes.
- The Courage of Neighbors: Stories from the Rwandan Genocide (2010) interviews Hutus and Tutsis as they recall incredible acts of humanity that took place even during the darkest days of the genocide. 3 minutes.
- Banning Cluster Bombs: The Campaign and Treaty (2010) describes the devastating consequences of cluster munitions, the landmark Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the work that remains to be done. 5 minutes.
- Hassan Samedi: Cartoons Against Corruption (2010) features a bold political cartoonist demanding freedom of the press in Afghanistan. The film also hears about the consequences he has faced for exercising that freedom. 2 minutes.
- A Look at Global Militarism (2010) takes a brief look at what President Eisenhower famously called the "military industral complex." 4 minutes.
- The Yes Men: Pranksters Against War (USA) (2010) documents the Yes Men's most notorious stunt: creating a fake issue of the New York Times one week after Barack Obama's 2008 election victory. 3 minutes.
- Miatta Fahnbulleh: Educating the Next Generation (Liberia) (2010) explores Fahnbulleh’s dual role as a singer and a socially conscious citizen. 4 minutes.
- Fishing Under Fire (2010) documents the efforts of Gaza fishermen to maintain their livelihood in the face of the harassment and humiliation imposed as part of an unlawful Israeli government blockade. 3 minutes.
- Tehran Ratz: Graffiti for a New Iran (2010) profiles a duo of graffiti artists that challenges an undemocratic regime and provides an uncommon look at Iranian culture. 3 minutes.
- Rami Farah: Anti-Occupation Films (2010) features an interview with Syrian documentarian Rami Farah, whose work conveys the lived experience of the Israeli government's occupation of the Golan Heights. 3 minutes.
- Gaza Freedom March 2009 (2010) documents the 2009 demonstrations organized by the International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza to mark the one-year anniversary of Israel’s attack on the territory. 10 minutes.
- Sierra Leone Rising (2010) documents the progress Sierra Leone has made since the end of its brutal civil war and the hope of a new generation for creating a more just society. 13 minutes.
- César López: Turning Guns into Guitars (Colombia) (2010) highlights guitarist César López’s efforts to reign in militarism in his country through music and political activism. 3 minutes.
- Katibe 5: Rapping Against Occupation (2010) profiles a Palestinian hip- hop group formed in the Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon. 3 minutes.
- Hands Off Gaza (2010) showcases the New York City hip-hop community's gathering to denounce the Israeli military's three-week assault on Gaza in late-2008 and early-2009. 4 minutes.
- Battle for the Xingu (2010) depicts the 2008 Xingu Alive Encounter, one of the largest-ever gatherings of indigenous Brazilians, and highlights the spectacular determination of the Amazon people to protect their way of life. 11 minutes.
- We Sing Together, Why Should We Fight? The KWETU Festival in Uganda (2010) captures the Kwetu Festival’s celebratory mood and the determination of its participants to curtail violent conflict. 4 minutes.
Other Short Films:
- Beneath the Borqa in Afghanistan (2002) spotlights the despair on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border while capturing the hope and dignity that still define Afghan men, women, and children. 12 minutes.
- Architettura (1999) is a series of four short films that highlight the contradictions and complexities of urban life.
- An Autumn Wind (1994) highlights the simplicity and grandeur of Japanese gardens and features a clash of realities, told through the dueling haiku poetry of Matsuo Basho and Allen Ginsberg. It screened at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. 6 minutes.
- Prufrock (1991), Iara Lee's first short film, is an experimental film poem based on T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and narrated by Matt Dillon. 4 minutes.