Joan is currently working on Wild Detroit Honey, a feature-length documentary about Detroit and its bees; and interviewing octogenarian beekeepers for an oral history project with the Michigan Beekeepers Association. She is a practicing beekeeper and partner in Green Toe Gardens, a Detroit-based apiary. 

Joan recently directed two documentary segments for the Emmy award-winning PBS series, Arab American Stories. And she is proud of her ground-breaking work producing and curating Patriots and Peacemakers, a multimedia exhibit for the Arab American National Museum. The exhibit, featuring audio and video interviews with more than 100 veterans of the military, Peace Corps and diplomatic corps, is traveling to museums and university galleries nationwide. 

Joan Mandell has taught at the University of California/ Irvine, College for Creative Studies/Detroit, Birzeit University/Palestine and aboard a ship travelling around the world with the University of Virginia/Semester-at-Sea. She co-founded Al Fajr news-weekly, served on the editorial board of Middle East Report and was a Fulbright scholar. 


Films by Joan Mandell

Tales from Arab Detroit

Unique in post-September 11 America, Tales From Arab Detroit, is an intimate community portrait. A visiting Egyptian storyteller/bard provokes an inquiry into issues of Arab heritage and tradition in a quintessential American immigrant community. American born children-- a "7-11 girl", hiphop dancer and rapper among them-- reconcile social and cultural differences with Arab immigrant parents. Through music, poetry and the ironies of everyday life, young people face up to racial discrimination and other socio-political challenges. Co-Produced by Sally Howell and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services

Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family

In the first documentary film made in Gaza, Gaza Ghetto (1984) highlights the historical precedents that fuel the current cycles of violence and continue at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Intimate scenes of family life (a child born, a grandmother dies) in Jabalia, the largest Palestinian refugee camp, are intercut with visits to the architects of the Israeli military occupation. Ariel Sharon, Benyamin Beneliezar and soldiers on patrol candidly discuss their responsibilities. Spend 82 minutes with the Abu el-Adel family and you will understand how the roots of the Palestine-Israel conflict influence today's harsh realities and dreams of peace, justice and stability.

Voices in Exile: Immigrants and the First Amendment

Since 9-11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, immigrants' rights to civil liberties have been profoundly diminished under the rubric of "national security". VOICES IN EXILE gives historical context to these contemporary issues, by drawing connections between recent campaigns against Muslims and Arab Americans, the anti-communism of the McCarthy era and the post-WWI Palmer raids.