Joan is currently working on Wild Detroit Honey, a feature-length documentary about her city and its pollinators of both the insect and homo sapien varieties.
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 oral history based 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, travelled to museums and university galleries nationwide.
Joan Mandell currently divides her time between Washington DC, where she teaches at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and Detroit, where she is a beekeeper and educator at Green Toe Gardens. She has also taught at the University of California/ Irvine, College for Creative Studies/Detroit, Birzeit University/Palestine and aboard a ship travelling around the world with Semester-at-Sea. She co-founded Al Fajr news-weekly, served for two decades on the editorial board of Middle East Report and was a Fulbright scholar.
Films by Joan Mandell
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
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.
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.