Lecturer in Video/Film and Photography
Film/Video Production & Post-Production
Middle East Cinema
Shammi Samano is a filmmaker and lecturer of Film/Video and Photography in the Global Art Studies Program at the University of California, Merced. She received her B.A. in Women Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara and her M.F.A. in Film Production from University of California, Los Angles. While in Los Angeles, Samano directed several short films that were acquired for distribution and/or played numerous international festivals. As an Iraqi immigrant to the U.S, her films have often been inspired by the Middle East region as well as the complicated tension and beauty of living between both cultures. Her films have also delved into issues of sexuality as it relates to the Middle East and otherwise. Samano left LA for Dubai to teach media production at Dubai Women's College. In Dubai, she produced "Finding Mr. & Mrs Right: Dubai Style" an off-beat documentary about the trials and tribulations of young locals as they searched for their ideal match in a culture where merely dating is taboo. Timeout Dubai called it "one of the must-see films" of the Dubai International Film Festival. In Dubai, she also curated a successful photo exhibit at the Gallery of Light entitled Privately. The exhibit showcased the photography of young Emirati women and explored their creative negotiations of public and private spaces in the quest for self-expression, and even resistance. Since returning to the U.S., Samano has freelanced as a director and editor. She is currently directing a feature-length documentary focused on a controversial Arab intellectual and blogger. This film delves into some of the most hot-button issues of the Middle East as well as the intellectual’s relationship to resistance, social media, and censorship. In addition to teaching at UC Merced and in Dubai, Samano has has also taught in the UCLA Extension Entertainment Studies Program.