The Top 10 Moments from MPAC's 22nd Annual Media Awards Gala

May 2, 2013

This past Saturday, MPAC honored three exceptional projects -- “5 Broken Cameras,” “Bones” and the Sundance Film Institute -- at its 22nd Annual Media Awards Gala. It was an glamorous evening with emotional moments as the honorees thanked the American Muslim community for their support.

In case you missed it, here are the Top 10 Moments from the gala.

10. MPAC Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary 

 The Media Awards was the launch of MPAC’s 25th Anniversary celebration.

“It's been 25 years of hard work to engage, to inspire and to enlighten and I’m so grateful to God almighty for giving me time to be part of that,” said Dr. Hathout. “We are knocking on the doors of the future, and God willing it will open really wide for new generations to step in, into a better, kinder, gentler, more creative, more just and more fair America.” 

9. Hollywood Elite & Out of Town Guests Attend Gala

This year, we were honored to have some of Hollywood’s elite attend the gala, including Howard Gordon, TV writer and producer of “Homeland” and “24”; Maha Dakhil of Creative Artists Agency; Matt Jackson of Exclusive Media; screenwriters Roger Wolfson and Dan Davis; producer writer and director, Tariq Jalil; and Ray Bradford, National Director of Policy and Diversity Advocacy for SAG-AFTRA. On top of that, many distinguished flew in for the evening from as far as West Virginia to join us.

8. Guests Take a Turn on the Red Carpet

This year honorees guests walked the red carpet as they entered the gala, adding to the evening’s glitz and glamor. Honorees stopped to talk about accepting the Media Award, how they feel about being part of the evening and what are some of their upcoming projects.


7. Chocolate Fountain, Crème Brûlée and More 

After a scrumptious dinner, guests were surprised this year with a dessert reception. From white and milk chocolate fountains and crème brûlées to traditional Indian dessert and a plethora of fruit. Guests mingled and socialized over dessert, as well as speak to honorees one-on-one about their project and passions.



6. Dr. Hathout Thanks the Honorees

MPAC Senior Adviser, Dr. Maher Hathout, closed the event by thanking each of the honorees for bringing such excellence to the table and for inspiring change.

 “All of you are part of this night; all of you are our stars. They say that a beautiful sky is the one that is crowded with stars, and we are very happy to see our skies filled with so many stars,” he said. “Last week was a hard week and we really thought that the darkness was taking over. You being here is proof that the darkness can never take over; one candle can break the thickest darkness.”

5. Sundance Institute Honored for Supporting Artists

The Sundance Film Institute was honored for supporting the professional development of artists in Muslim-majority countries. 

“Our Middle East film initiative started in 2005, because like MPAC, we recognized the rapidly evolving role of film and the advance of ideas, movements, values and presenting authentic images of the Middle Eastern societies,” said Matthew Takata, of the Sundance Institute, who accepted the award. "It’s designed to identify filmmakers with unique authentic voices throughout the Middle East, and since its inception has developed 80 feature-like films. This award is really important to us and we’re really grateful for this recognition.”

4. Vahdat Brings Muslims Front and Center on 'Bones'

Actor Pej Vahdat, who plays Arastoo Vaziri on Fox TV’s “Bones” was honored for playing a practicing Muslim character. Vahdat’s character has been part of central story lines for a number of episodes for the past five seasons -- an almost singular achievement on serial television. His character has made breakthroughs on the perception of American Muslims.

 “Thank you MPAC for honoring me and ‘Bones’ for this wonderful award. Thank you FOX for giving me something that I can relate to as an American Muslim. A part that’s not a terrorist,” he said.

3. Legendary Actor Dustin Hoffman Sends Touching Audio Message

Though, Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman was unable to attend the gala, he delivered an audio message for the event and Emad Burnat that spoke to “5 Broken Cameras’ ”powerful message. Listen to his audio message here.




2. Rabbi Beerman Receives Standing Ovation

Inspired by his legacy of work with the Muslim American community, the crowd was moved to a standing ovation for Rabbi Beerman, the Founding Rabbi of the Leo Beack Temple. He relayed the long story of interfaith relationships coming together to bring legendary actor Dustin Hoffman to the night’s celebration.



1. Burnat Travels From West Bank for Gala

Emad Burnat Oscar-nominated director Emad Burnat brought “5 Broken Cameras” and its message of justice and mercy for the Palestinian people to the big screen.

 “My camera is a strong weapon and a strong witness, ”Burnat said. “We should tell our stories before others hijack them. I did this film from my point of view, from my heart, from my mind. I’m very happy because the message was sent to the world, and everybody was shocked and moved by its story.”



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