by Mark Elijah Rosenberg
January 4th, 2011

Over the past eight years, no one I know has been working harder than Susan Youssef to make her dream film come true. Since 2002, Susan has been crafting the first fiction feature made in Gaza in decades—a Herculean effort she has almost completed. Her film Habibi Rasak Kharban ["Darling, Something Is Wrong With Your Head"] is a daring romantic drama with an intense but uplifting political message. Rooftop screened Susan’s films Forbidden to Wander and Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf, and the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund gave a service grant to this film way back in 2007.

Right now, Susan is raising funds through Kickstarter for her final push to finish the film. Susan tells her amazing production story on her Kickstarter page, so be sure to check it out. And if you donate $50 or more, you get a copy of her wonderful short films. So help this amazing and unique project get across the finish line and out into the world at last!

Habibi, a story of forbidden love, is the first fiction feature set in Gaza in over 15 years. Two students in the West Bank are forced to return home to Gaza, where their love defies tradition. To reach his lover, Qays grafittis poetry across town. Habibi is a modern re-telling of the famous ancient Sufi parable Majnun Layla. The full Arabic title is Habibi Rasak Kharban, which translates as “darling, something’s wrong with your head.”

Susan Youssef, the writer and director, has been named one of “25 New Faces” to watch for by Filmmaker magazine. Habibi is her first feature film. Her five shorts have screened at venues such as Sundance Film Festival and Museum of Modern Art (NY), and have been acquired for distribution by Video Data Bank, Third World Newsreel, and Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.

For information on her previous films, click here. For information about Habibi, click here.

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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.


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