My name is Deema Dabis, I am a Palestinian, Jordanian, American filmmaker, storyteller, plant lover, and workshop facilitator based out of Amman, Jordan. I am fascinated by the stories that live in our bodies, that come from our ancestral lineages, our unspoken wounds and desires. The inspiration for much of my work comes from the native wild landscape, indigenous practices, folk foods and remedies, the elders who still hold this wisdom, and the stories and connections that surround these things. Part of what triggered these explorations is the cultural and physical erasure of the rich history and heritage of my ancestry, brought about by things like zionist colonization and the arabization of my homelands.
I have an MFA in Cinematic Storytelling from the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA). I am currently developing a short film called PARTING THE DEAD SEA with my Producer and sister, Cherien Dabis (AMREEKA / MAY IN THE SUMMER / RAMY), and Rula Nasser (The Imaginarium Films). I am also in early development for a documentary project, that explores the people, places, and landscapes of Jordan, through the rich legacy of wild foraged foods. I Produced the short film FROM THE MOUNTAIN, a historical narrative film about Sultan Basha Al Atrash, the leader of the Great Syrian Revolt of 1925. I have worked as a freelancer in the budding Jordanian film industry since 2012, in various roles from every stage of production. Check out this page here to find out more about my film and video work.
I am passionate about making films and storytelling a tool that is accessible to everyone. I have given film workshops to underprivileged populations in Jordanian towns and refugee camps, and taught filmmaking to students using simple tools like smartphones. I enjoy teaching creative ways to share personal stories through video and performance. My love for story has led me to guide and mentor university students from institutions like: the University of Hamburg, Jordan University, and New York University Abu Dhabi.
I also offer workshops that connect us to alternative and more earth based ways of knowing, using tools such as writing, movement, and plant connections to access, uncover and reimagine the stories that live in our bodies, memories, and landscapes. These workshops can be adapted to groups of people, individuals and specific subjects of exploration. To find out more check out my workshop page here.
I have been writing since the age of 15, check out my blog here to read more about my explorations. I am currently writing a series of articles inspired by the Ba’al Cycle, from the Canaanite mythology of my ancestors. This exploration began with my fascination with the word “Ba’ali”, a term we use in the Levant to describe a plant that lives off of rainwater alone, such as many of the olives trees that we have cultivated for thousands of years. Ba’ali also refers the storm god that my ancestors revered. From there I created an art installation that connects various deities from the Canaanite panetheon and Ba’al Cycle story, to wild native plants that are Ba’ali by nature. You can read more about the exhibition here, that is on display at Darat Al Funun in Amman from March 1st to September 30th, 2022.
Let’s make something together.