Transcendent Cinema: Contra-Banned Narratives - Virtual Class

Explore the ways Muslim and Islamic culture have found their way on screen, challenging the disconnect between most of America and the realities of Muslim life. Taught by Sultan Sharrief.

March 2, 2021


There are roughly 1.2 million Muslims in the world representing almost every country, yet most Americans have not encountered nuanced Muslim stories. This class experience will review basic principles within Islam and investigate ways modern cinema is exploring these themes through personal stories. There will be a brief overview of history of Muslim/Islamic themes within film, an examination of ways geopolitical and religious conservative factors influence the dissimination of stories, and finally end with an intimate study of how contemporary Muslim filmmakers are shifting paradigms.

Zoom meeting details will be emailed to ticket purchasers shortly before the scheduled event.



Tuesday, March 2, 2021
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Presented via Zoom Webinar
$25 Sustainer | $15 Regular | $10 Reduced / SIFF Member
Registration fees offered at a sliding scale; proceeds support both the instructor and SIFF Education programming.


All are welcome! Registrants are not required to watch any films in advance, though we recommend having seen two or more of the Muslim films listed below which will provide excellent experiences to support the principles shared in class. The below titles include web links that connect to an overview of current streaming options.


Transcendent Cinema centers filmmaking infused with religious principles. By understanding the religious beliefs expressed through the filmmaker's art we develop a deeper appreciation of storytelling, explore the way religion breathes within our individual and collective experience, and connect to our shared humanity as a global community.


Sultan Sharrief is a PhD candidate in the Media Arts and Practice program at USC. He is a transmedia activist, filmmaker, and social entrepreneur. His directorial debut feature film, Bilal's Stand, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and he has produced four other feature films. He is also the creator and showrunner for the Black Public Media program Street Cred'. He received a Masters Degree from MIT in Comparative Media Studies. He is currently developing the first ever Virtual Reality Data Visualization Musical.