Pangea In Park City

Jehane Noujaim
Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim arrived at Sundance in 2001 with STARTUP.COM [], a harrowing study of ambition gone mad in the economy that she directed with veteran filmmaker Chris Hegedus. Three years later she returned with THE CONTROL ROOM [], a provocative look at Al-Jazeera, the Arab-speaking television network, to see how the Iraq war looked from an Arab point of view. Born in Cairo of Egyptian Lebanese, Syrian and American descent, Noujaim knows first hand how truth is the sum of different and often conflicting perspectives. So when Noujaim won the 2006 TED Prize [], an honor bestowed by TED [] (Technology, Entertainment, Design) which grants the recipient $100, 000 and one wish, she asked to allow different global perspectives to be brought together. Her idea will manifest itself on May 10, 2008 as Pangea Day [], a global event during which, as the organization explains, “sites in Cairo, Dharamsala, Kigali, London, New York City, Ramallah, Rio de Janeiro, and Tel Aviv will be video conferenced live to produce a 4-hour program of powerful films, visionary speakers, and uplifting music.”

In preparation, Noujaim returned to Sundance this week to tap the festival’s best resource – filmmakers. But it was no easy return. After filmmaking in Morocco, she boarded a flight from Casablanca to New York that nearly went down. According to Noujaim, “the cockpit window cracked, taking away all air pressure and forcing the plane to drop thousands of feet immediately.” A bit shaken, the indefatigable filmmaker found her way to Sundance, and immediately got to work. “I am here meeting with filmmakers to be part of the Pangea Day. I’m speaking to both short and feature filmmakers – whose work we’ll cut down. Mostly I want to present stories that get inside a people’s head, and explain how they see the world.”


Peter Bowen