Kazkaz, Rana

Having lived, worked and studied in Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Russia, France, South Africa and Egypt, Kazkaz has earned a reputation as an actor-writer-director-producer with a passion for stories from the Middle East.

She served as Executive Producer and lead actor in the Off-Broadway production of Radha Bharadwaj’s “Closet Land”, a production hailed by Backstage Magazine as “simply spectacular”; co-produced the South African staging of Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ play “Venus”; and co-produced and starred in “Unexpected Journeys”, a festival of plays by women of Muslim cultures.  She also appeared in the sold-out post-September 11th event “Imagine: Iraq” featuring plays by Tony Kushner, Kia Corthron, Harold Pinter and others.

In addition to acting and producing plays, Kazkaz was a featured guest (with Ed Koch) on the popular PBS series “This Is America”; and facilitated a public dialogue with Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem on human rights violations around the world and has been interviewed on television for “PhatLiterature Literary TV Program” and “Jersey’s Talking with Lee Leonard”.

As a company member of the Irondale Theatre Ensemble and Epic Theatre Center, she taught students of color acting during long-term residencies at Riker’s Island Prison and numerous Alternative High Schools in Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens.  By invitation, Kazkaz has presented speeches and workshops across the U.S. and South Africa on artist activism and ethnic stereotyping.

Kazkaz also focuses her time on writing screenplays.  Her first screenplay GIBRAN was an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival All Access Program (2005); was selected to participate in the first Middle East Screenwriter’s Lab held in Amman, Jordan sponsored by the Royal Film Commission of Jordan in Association with the Sundance Institute (2005); and most recently selected for Mediterranean Films Crossing Borders at the Cannes Film Festival (2007).

In 2006, she directed a staged reading of Nathalie Handal’s play THE DETAILS OF SILENCE for Silk Road Theater Project.

Kazkaz’s film directing debut, KEMO SABE (Winner Family Award, USA Film Festival), was a result of being one of eight women chosen by the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women (2006).  KEMO SABE has been selected for Competition in Film Festivals around the world including Australia, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Iran, Germany, Hungary, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and the U. S.

Current projects include writing the plays: Gibran’s Prophet and Damascus.  Her feature film screenplays of Gibran and Damascenes are currently in development.

Rana holds an MFA in Acting from Carnegie Mellon University/Moscow Art Theater and a BA from Oberlin College.  She divides her time between living in Damascus, Syria and the U.S. with her husband, son and daughter.

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