Category Archives: warringfactions

Repost from AslanMedia: Warring Factions Review

Dancing on a Tightrope: Justin Mashouf’s Documentary, “Warring Factions”

Kashif Ghazanfar, Aslan Media Music Editor

Despite the fact that my own attempts at “b-boying” (Breakdancing) have proven to be a series of catastrophic gyrations that exist somewhere between a spasm and accidental vulgarity, it is a form of dance and movement that’s always amazed and impressed me. Emerging from the urban streets of America, b-boying is raw and powerful, yet, incredibly artful and athletic in it’s execution. Justin Mashouf is one such example and his documentary, “The Warring Factions” is not only infused with electrifying scenes of him and others b-boying, but it is also an incredibly thoughtful exploration on his identity as a Muslim daring to dance across two cultures and traditions seemingly at odds with one another.

To be sure, this is no ordinary Muslim and no ordinary American. Initially, one is struck by the juxtaposition of his light brown hair and fair complexion with his strong, abiding faith in Islam. Mashouf’s mother is an American and his father is an Iranian. Neither of his parents are religious and, yet, Islam seems to be central focus for Mashouf and his emerging sense of identity. In “Warring Factions,” Mashouf deals with an array of complexities concerning how to define himself amid various competing ideas of faith and culture. Quite often these complexities are not explicitly stated but, rather, understood as one absorbs the film.

Amid the various scenes of b-boying in America and in Iran, Mashouf’s documentary attempts to dispel the stereotypes Muslims and Iranians face amid the current political climate in America, so suffused with vitriol against them. His own experiences as an adolescent in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy serve as a kind of genesis for his story and informs his passionate defense of both Muslims and Iranians.

Clearly, the entertainment highlight of the film is the various scenes of b-boying. The wild athleticism and grace involved in b-boying are framed by the inherent sense of kinship and community the dancers feel for one another. As Mashouf steps into the surrounding circles of his peers to dance, amid the raucous cheers and encouraging shouts of his fellow dancers from a myriad of faiths and ethnic backgrounds, his dancing transforms into an act of faith itself and, at least for moment, he’s freed from the vexing questions of who he ought to be. He becomes, instead, who he is.



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Warring Factions in Chicago June 13th!

Warring Factions will be screening on Sunday June 13th in the Max Palevsky Cinema at University of Chicago as a part of the Salaam Film Festival sponsored by Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).

The screening is part of the week long Streets 2010: Urban International Festival that ends on June 19th with Takin’ It to the Streets in Marquette Park, Chicago. Streets 2010 is anticipated to attract over 20,000 attendees.

More info here [LINK ]


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Warring Factions Now In Torrent Form

Warring Factions is now available in crunchy torrent form.. Get to sharing!


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UA Screening + New Warring Factions Links

photo: Jevon Tyrone

Last week was the Warring Factions screening at University of Arizona. The screening was well attended and I was glad to see a lot of old friends come out of the woodwork to see the film.

Surprisingly the Q & A after the film was the most provocative to date. Respect is due to the audience that challenges the filmmaker.

Additionally, Warring Factions has 2 new download links for the high and low resolution versions of the film. Let us know what you think.


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Iranian Bboy Hossein Battle


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Noor Film Festival Screening Recap

It’s been over a week since the screening at Noor and I am finally getting around to writing about it. My film screened on a Saturday afternoon and in true “Persian” fashion, 70% of the audience was 20 minutes late. I’m glad that my film was preceded by a 20 minute short.

Overall, audience reaction was by far better than any other screening. Every scene of nuanced humor, emotion, or frustration was followed by laughter and/or applause. I think the best received scene was that which Iranian bboy Hossein Battle is speaking about Iran- US relations. In the film Hossein mentions that “the US is not our big brother or cousin to tell us what do do,” after which the whole audience hooted and applauded his comment. Regardless of Iranians varying opinions on Iran’s current regime, the vast majority believes in an Iran that is sovereign and independent from the West in its decision making.

After the screening I was honored to hear such positive feedback from Reza Badiyi who has achieved a lot in the industry, especially as an Iranian-American. His feedback, more than anyone else at the festival meant a lot. Also, in attending the festival I was happy to meet Faramarz K Rahber who directed Donkey in Lahore and won 3 awards at the festival including Best Director. It meant a great deal to hear the filmmaker who won Best Director saying my film was his favorite in the festival.

The next day during the award ceremony Warring Factions was nominated for Best Documentary and Best Story/Idea. I was honored to be nominated at the festival and I sincerely thank everyone who passed out fliers, sent facebook messages, and told friends about the screening and the film. This festival has opened up a few more doors for the film and I hope to be screening again in LA since I was approached by so many people asking when the next showing was.


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