Global Futurism Film Screening & Panel Discussion

*This event is part of the NC Consortium for Middle Eastern Studies 2023 conference “Border Politics: Bodies, Community, And Ecology” see the full event schedule and RSVP here

Global Futurisms


More about the short films

Space Exodus“Space Exodus” (2009) quirkily sets up an adapted stretch of Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey in a Middle Eastern political context. The recognisable music scores of the 1968 science fiction film are changed to arabesque chords matching the surreal visuals of Sansour’s film. The film follows the artist herself onto a phantasmagoric journey through the universe echoing Stanley Kubrick’s thematic concerns for human evolution, progress and technology. However, in her film, Sansour posits the idea of a first Palestinian into space, and, referencing Armstrong’s moon landing, she interprets this theoretical gesture as “a small step for a Palestinian, a giant leap for mankind”. Preview on YouTube

The Nation Estate“Nation Estate” (2012) project consists of a 9-minute sci-fi short film and a photo series offering a clinically dystopian, yet humorous approach to the deadlock in the Middle East. With its glossy mixture of computer generated imagery, live actors and an arabesque electronica soundtrack, the Nation Estate film explores a vertical solution to Palestinian statehood. Palestinians have their state in the form of a single skyscraper: the Nation Estate. One colossal high-rise houses the entire Palestinian population – now finally living the high life. Preview on YouTube

In the Future“In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain” (2016) resides in the cross-section between sci-fi, archaeology and politics. Combining live motion and CGI, the film explores the role of myth for history, fact and national identity. A narrative resistance group makes underground deposits of elaborate porcelain – suggested to belong to an entirely fictional civilisation. Their aim is to influence history and support future claims to their vanishing lands. Once unearthed, this tableware will prove the existence of this counterfeit people. By implementing a myth of its own, their work becomes a historical intervention – de facto creating a nation. Preview on YouTube

In Vitro“In Vitro” (2019), co-directed with Søren Lind,  is a 2-channel Arabic-language sci-fi film filmed in black and white. It is set in the aftermath of an eco-disaster. An abandoned nuclear reactor under the biblical town of Bethlehem has been converted into an enormous orchard. Using heirloom seeds collected in the final days before the apocalypse, a group of scientists are preparing to replant the soil above. Preview on YouTube


Sponsored by the NC Consortium for Middle Eastern Studies, Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, Institute for Arts & Humanities, Department of Asian & Middle East Studies, Classics Department and Curriculum in Global Studies.