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“Spaces of Exception” Film Screening & Discussion

April 16 @ 7:00 pm 9:30 pm EDT

“Spaces of Exception” is a film profiling American Indian reservations alongside Palestinian refugee camps, an attempt to understand the significance of the land—its memory and divisions—and the conditions for life, community and sovereignty. The screening is followed by a community conversation with film co-director Matt Peterson and Indigenous and Palestinian guests.

5pm – 6pm: Be The Media! workshop: Creating a Long-Term Media Project
Join Matt Peterson, co-director of “Spaces of Exception,” to learn about the process of creating a long-term media project. 

7pm – 9:30pm: film screening of “Spaces of Exception” and community conversation
After the film screening (roughly 1.5 hours long), Matt Peterson, co-director of “Spaces of Exception,” will be joined with Indigenous and Palestinian/Arab guests about takeaways, related personal experiences, and reflections. Even if you have already seen the film, please feel free to join later for complimentary tea and snacks and the subsequent discussion.

“Spaces of Exception,” directed by Matt Peterson and Malek Rasamny, was filmed from 2014 to 2017 in Arizona, New Mexico, New York, and South Dakota as well as Lebanon and the West Bank, and comes out of the long-term multimedia project The Native and the Refugee.

After the film screening (roughly 1.5 hours long), film co-director Matt Peterson will be joined by Indigenous and Palestinian/Arab guests in a discussion about takeaways, related personal experiences, and reflections. See panel bios below.

In showing “Spaces of Exception,” Albany Jewish Voice for Peace, The Sanctuary for Independent Media, along with our co-sponsors hope to further understanding between all members of our community on this difficult and controversial issue and provide a safe space for dialogue.

Still from "Spaces of Exception" showing a dark street with yellow banners, lots of wires, a car, and arabic signs


Filmmaker Matt Peterson is an organizer at Woodbine, an experimental space in New York City. He co-directed the documentary features “Scenes from a Revolt Sustained” (2014) and “Spaces of Exception” (with Malek Rasamny, 2018), and co-edited the books “In the Name of the People” (2018) and “The Mohawk Warrior Society” (2022).

Layla Aburas Khafaga is a first-generation Palestinian American. Her father was displaced in the 1967 conflict, and her mother’s family in the 1948 Nakba. Layla embraces her Palestinian identity proudly, striving to preserve its rich culture. Leaving the corporate world, she founded a Middle Eastern Bakery to share her culture with the community. Layla also played a pivotal role in founding the Albany Muslim Advocacy Coalition (AMAC), advocating for unity and social justice. She amplifies unheard voices, aiming for positive change and representation in her community.

Kanerahtiio Roger Jock is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Bear Clan Leader from the Akwesasne Reserve who carries a vision of return for his people to their ancestral lands in the Mohawk Valley of New York. Kanerahtiio has taught cultural awareness all over the U.S. for over 40 years as part of the White Roots of Peace Movement. He worked as an ironworker and foreman for several decades and is a leader in land and sovereign rights in the Akwesasne region.

Want to learn more about how this film was made? If so, join us prior to the screening:

5pm – 6pm: Be The Media! workshop: Creating a Long-Term Media Project
Join Co-Director Matt Peterson to learn about the documentary-making process of creating “Spaces of Exception”” and a long-term media project.

This event is curated by iEAR Presents! and is made possible in part by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

This event is a collaboration between the iEAR Presents!series with support from RPI’s ARTS department and School of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, and from the New York State Council for the Arts/ NYSCA, with The Sanctuary for Independent Media, and is a featured project of the NEA Our Town “Sanctuary Eco-Art Trail” creative placemaking grant.

Jewish Voices for Peace Logo
Palestinian Rights Committee Logo
Women Against War logo with a blue peace dove in front of a symbol for women and a pink background
Saratoga BLM
$25 Suggested donation – no one turned away for lack of funds!
3361 6th Ave
Troy, 12180 United States
View Venue Website

We are committed to lowering the barriers to access for events at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. For people who are hard of hearing or deaf, blind or low-vision, or whose physical limitations can interfere with a satisfying experience, let us know two weeks in advance so we can make appropriate arrangements.

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We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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