*TRAILER // Currently in the 2017 festival circuit and will be available online for viewing in full once the circuit is completed.

Hex is a contemporary film adaptation of German expressionist choreographer Mary Wigman’s 1926 performance, Hexentanz (witch dance). 

Directed by Ania Catherine and Samira Mahboub
Produced by Dejha Ti
Starring Ania Catherine and Samira Mahboub
Choreographer Ania Catherine
Director of Photography Rob Jarvis
Editor Dejha Ti
Music Tim Motzer
Costume Designer & Stylist Taff Williamson
Makeup Lucy Bridge at Streeters
Hair Philippe Tholimet at Streeters
Colorist Andrew Finch
Stills Photographer Nicole Salnikov
Production Assistant Emmalie El Fadli
Runner Bilal Boutin
London, 2017

 

Mirror Stages and One

Photographer: Dejha Ti

Dubai, 2017

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SAMANIA collaborated with Dubai-based contemporary womenswear brand Alayna to create a lookbook showing our interpretation of her SS17 resort collection Salaam
Dubai, 2017

 
 

How does freedom dress?
“cloth” is a video art piece intended to start an inter/intracultural conversation about women, identity, restriction, agency, freedom, and (mis)perceptions thereof. There is a current dichotomy—perpetuated by both academia and popular media—between the supposedly “empowered” and “liberated” Western woman and the “oppressed” veiled woman, as the veil has become “to Western eyes” (Leila Ahmed--Women and Gender in Islam, 1992) a symbol of the oppression of women. This universalising claim, which assumes that a veiled woman would never choose (i.e. is forced) to cover her head, also suggests that the speaker is able to identify a liberated woman and an oppressed woman based solely on her clothing. Because it diverts attention away from forms of structural discrimination and oppression that women (veiled or not) experience around the world, the obsession with veiling as the symbol of women’s oppression impedes thoughtful, productive discussion around gender equality.  

It is our belief that divisions along lines such as clothing, religion, race, and socioeconomic status undermine women’s collective capacity to challenge gender-based oppression. Moreover, when certain groups of women have considerably more voice and power, these separations inevitably reinforce and reproduce hierarchies that discriminate against and devalue certain groups of women.

The hierarchical division between “liberated” Western women and “oppressed” veiled women poses a political and social problem, which obstructs genuine understanding and dialogue about women and between women of different cultural backgrounds (Chandra Mohanty--Under Western Eyes, 1988). In the last few decades, several critiques of this dichotomy have entered academic discourses, challenging the homogeneous portrayal of veiled women, and the assumed mutual exclusivity of veiling and empowerment. Although we engage with critical discourses in academia, our film is an attempt to translate such critiques into a medium accessible to a wider audience. 

Directed and performed by Ania Catherine and Samira Mahboub
Director of Photography: Jacqui J Sze
Editor: Jacqui J Sze
Production & Set Assistant: Eman al-Maadeed
Music: "Easy Muffin" by Amon Tobin
London, 2014

 

Drain

Performance: Samira Mahboub
Photography: Ania Catherine
London, 2014

A two-pronged [film + poem] response to those who tell queer women “It’s just a phase.” 
 

 

something is wrong
this is temporary
sweet but not serious
curious but not aware
ill but arousing
a beautiful phase
drowning in tears, not their own
fleeting, confused
oscillating between feeling and numbness

most depictions of confused women don't reflect confused women
they reflect a confused gaze
a dirty lens
the dirt is invisible
it’s called discourse
a cocktail of history, stories, and science
accounts sans accountability

phase is your film, of which we wanted no part
what is seen through this frame is not reality
it is a view
a view that won’t define or lasso our experience
this gaze is not required
this gaze may seem loving
this gaze deceives you
what is a phase, is this gaze
not our experience
we politely exit
in our absence, your frame becomes visible
see you in the future


by Ania Catherine

 

 


“I don’t get it. I’m just worried about you. It’s just a phase."
We decided to call-out the less visible and seemingly innocent discourses that minimize romantic love between women.

PHASE has two prongs: a SAMANIA film and a poem by Ania Catherine. “It’s just a phase.” Find a woman who hasn’t heard these words regarding her attraction to or relationship with another woman. PHASE is a response. There has been a recent and drastic increase in the visibility of female-female relationships throughout media. However, subtle and implicit forms of delegitimation and ridiculization of relationships between women are omnipresent. As French intellectual Michel Foucault has written, power’s “success is proportional to its ability to hide its own mechanisms”; PHASE highlights the less visible (and therefore underestimated) yet still powerful forms of heterosexism. Increased media presence should not be conflated with sexual equality. The social acceptability of such comments needs to be challenged, as these subtle forms of discrimination could be easily eliminated were people made more aware of their harm. 
#NOTAPHASE

Directed and performed by Ania Catherine and Samira Mahboub
Director of Photography: Delaram Pourabdi
Editor: Delaram Pourabdi
Makeup/Hair: Laura Angelone
Voice-over: Delaram Pourabdi
Production Assistant: Madeline Hodges
Los Angeles, 2016