a woman with a camera, in shadow within a car with street scene through the window glass; a poet with eyeglasses, long earrings, dark hair pulled back, light pink top and cloudy sky with branches behind

Mazza Writer in Residence Priscilla Wathington with Colette Ghunim and Sara Maamouri

Sunday, April 14, 2024
Event Time 02:00 p.m. - 04:00 p.m. PT
Cost Free and open to the public
Location Artists Television Access, 992 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Contact Email poetry@sfsu.edu


The Poetry Center presents Mazza Writer in Residence Priscilla Wathington, reading her poetry that draws from her experiences as a Palestinian American and her past human rights advocacy work with local Palestinian organizations, and joining in conversation with filmmakers Colette Ghunim and Sara Maamouri. Their work-in-progress film Traces of Home (2024), explores the impact of having to leave one's homeplace (Palestine and Mexico), through the lives of Ghunim's parents. The three artists will take up questions of documentation and storytelling in the representation of trauma, collaboration and working with the archive, and possibilities of collective healing. 

From the filmmakers: "We want to share a trigger warning beforehand, that the scene from Palestine [one of several scenes to be shown from Traces of Home] includes an archival video of wounded children." 

Please join us for this second public event in Wathington's Mazza Residency (she reads with Sam Sax, Thursday April 11) — and the first of two April events with The Poetry Center at Artists' Television Access for programs featuring Arab women poets and filmmakers (Egyptian-born Safaa Fathy appears at ATA Friday April 19). 

The Mazza Writer in Residence program is supported by the Sam Mazza Foundation.

Artists' Television Access (ATA) is located on street level on Valencia at 21st Street; nearby parking often available in the municipal lot across the street on 21st at Barlett. 

VIDEO for this program will be posted after editing at Poetry Center Digital Archive.

Priscilla Wathington is a Palestinian American poet and editor who lives in the Bay Area. She is the author of the chapbook, Paper and Stick (Tram Editions), which draws from her past human rights and humanitarian work with NGOs such as Defense for Children International – Palestine, Norwegian Refugee Council, and the Arab American Action Network. Her poems have appeared in Adi MagazineGulf CoastMichigan Quarterly Review, Salamander, and elsewhere. She sits on the board of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and is an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.

Filmed over six years, Traces of Home is a personal documentary in progress exploring filmmaker Colette Ghunim's disconnected relationship with her family through the lens of intergenerational trauma. Interweaving two international trips to find her parents’ ancestral homes in Mexico and Palestine, extensive family video archives, and intimate conversations with Colette's family, what begins as a desire to connect to her cultural origins turns into an internal quest to heal herself and her family. Video still (detail, above) from Traces of Home.

Colette Ghunim | Director
As a documentary filmmaker and nonprofit co-founder, Colette Ghunim’s soul purpose is to use the power of film and storytelling for those oppressed around the world to be seen, to be heard, and to heal. Her first documentary, The People’s Girls (2016), received over 2 million views and won Best Short Documentary at the Arab Film Festival for its bold spotlight on street harassment in Egypt. In co-production with Kartemquin Films and funded by Latino Public Broadcasting, she is directing Traces of Home, her first feature-length film, documenting her inner quest to find home through unearthing her parent’s forced migrations from Mexico and Palestine. Colette is also the co-founder of Mezcla Media Collective, a nonprofit organization aimed to cultivate a thriving landscape for over 700 women and non-binary filmmakers of color in Chicago. Her work has been highlighted on international outlets such as Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, Univision, and TEDx. Colette was selected as a 2023 Obama Foundation USA Leader, 2024 Sundance Institute x ISF Fellow, and was featured on Arab America’s “30 Under 30” list. coletteghunim.com

Sara Maamouri | Editor/Producer
Sara Maamouri is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and editor who has explored a diverse range of topics for over 20 years. Her work touches on social, educational, and political issues, from We Are Not Princesses (2018), which follows Syrian refugees connecting with ancient truths through Sophocles’ Antigone, to the Peabody Award-winning film The Judge (2017), the groundbreaking story of the first woman appointed to the Sharia courts in the Middle East. A multilingual Tunisian-American, Sara brings cultural sensitivity to her editing, production, and story development, with an emphasis on social justice and impact driven filmmaking. Her most recent films include Black Mothers Love & Resist (SF International Film Festival 2022), and Clarissa’s Battle (Human Rights Watch Film Festival, NYC 2022). saramaamouri.com

Related events

Mazza Writer in Residence Priscilla Wathington and Sam Sax, reading and in conversation

Tripwire Series: Safaa Fathy, poet and filmmaker in person


Mazza Writers in Residence 2017–2023 on video


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