Heidi Saman

2016 Pew Fellow

1/6: Heidi Saman, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/6: Heidi Saman, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
3/6: Production still from Heidi Saman’s Namour. Photo by TK Anderson.
4/6: Director Heidi Saman and actor Waleed Zuaiter on the set of Namour. Photo by TK Anderson.
5/6: Production still from Heidi Saman’s Namour. Photo by TK Anderson.
6/6: Heidi Saman. Photo by David Evan McDowell.

“In my work I depict a first generation immigrant experience that resembles a fluid confluence of cultural backgrounds, one that is never contemplated or categorized in either/or terms.”

Heidi Saman (b. 1979) is a filmmaker influenced by Italian neo-realism’s emphasis on working-class protagonists, whose own work examines cultural identity, family, class, and daily life among Arab Americans. “The immigrant experience in cinema is often illustrated in terms of binaries: insider/outsider, homeland/foreign land, native/alien. As the daughter of Arab immigrants, I never experienced the push or pull these binaries presented. My experience just was,” she says. Her feature-length Namour premiered at the 2016 L.A. Film Festival, where it was listed among the “films you absolutely cannot miss” by Los Angeles Magazine. The film, set in L.A. during the economic recession of the late 2000s, centers on a young Egyptian American valet driver who struggles to balance his lifestyle with the demands of his middle-class immigrant family. Saman was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces to Watch in 2014.” Her short film The Maid premiered as an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and went on to screen at festivals worldwide. A recipient of a Leeway Transformation Award for Creating Art for Social Change, Saman holds an MA in film and media arts from Temple University.


References

Grants & Grantees

Painted Bride Art Center presented the seminal duets of Bill T. Jones and the late Arnie Zane—challenging works that remain some of the most significant examples of postmodern dance to date.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Darsie Alexander is the chief curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN.

Grants & Grantees

Philagrafika presented The Graphic Unconscious as the thematic centerpiece of Philagrafika 2010, a citywide festival.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Film, television, and stage actor Robert Prosky (1930–2008) had hundreds of credits to his name in television, film, and the theater.

Grants & Grantees

Tristin Lowe is an installation artist and a 1995 Pew Fellow.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Jenelle Porter is senior curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Prior to that, she curated at Artists Space in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.

The Kimmel Center presented a four-day program with Black Grace, all-male dance ensemble known for fusing traditional Pacific cultures with contemporary dance.

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries, in collaboration with the Wharton Esherick Museum and the Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania, presented the first major examination of Esherick’s work and artistic development in over 50 years.

The Way of Chopsticks, on view at the Philadelphia Art Alliance through December 29, 2013, has received recent media attention from a number of publications.

The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia opened to the public in 1954 and is located in the former home of brothers Philip and Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach, international dealers in rare books, manuscripts, and fine and decorative arts.

Jennifer Higdon wins a International Opera Award for Cold Mountain, Geoff Sobelle’s one-man play The Object Lesson will be presented at New York Theatre Workshop, and a mid-career retrospective book of Bo Bartlett’s paintings is published.

One of Philadelphia’s smartest and scrappiest small, no-profit art spaces, Marginal Utility is known for forging long-term commitments with artists.