Film Series

The Siege: Screening and Conversation

April 11, 2018

Amazingly, Edward Zwick’s The Siege (1998), starring Denzel Washington and Annette Benning, foreshadowed so much of what America would soon experience on 9/11 and its aftermath–Islamic extremism, domestic terrorism, the conflict between civil liberties and national security, and prejudice against Arab-Americans. These issues have remained timely and timeless in the United States since 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Our conversation dealt with the film’s implications and America’s ongoing counterterrorism concerns.

Watch The Siege: Screening and Conversation here. 

See more from FOLCS here.


Ed Zwick

Born in Winnetka, Illinois, Edward Zwick began directing and acting in high school and trained as an apprentice at the Academy Festival in Lake Forest. While studying literature at Harvard, he continued writing and directing for the theatre. Upon graduation, he was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship to study in Europe with some of the major innovative theatre companies.

Zwick was accepted as a Directing Fellow at the American Film Institute in 1975. Timothy and the Angel, Zwick’s AFI short film, won first place in the student film competition at the 1976 Chicago Film Festival and caught the attention of the producers of the television series, Family. He served as story editor on Family and subsequently became a director and producer.

For his work on the television movie Special Bulletin (as director, producer, and co-writer), Zwick received two Emmy Awards. It also marked the beginning of his collaboration with Marshall Herskovitz, with whom he then created the Emmy Award winning television series, Thirtysomething. Together Herskovitz and Zwick created The Bedford Falls Company as their home for film and television projects, including the critically acclaimed television series My So-Called Life, Relativity, and the Emmy Award and Golden Globe award winning series Once and Again. Currently Herskovitz and Zwick are Executive Producers on the series Nashville.

Zwick began his feature film career directing About Last Night. He went on to direct the Academy Award winning films Glory and Legends of the Fall. Zwick also directed the films Courage Under Fire, The Siege, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, Defiance, Love & Other Drugs, and Pawn Sacrifice. Zwick and Herskovitz also produced the films I Am Sam, as well as Traffic — winner of two Golden Globes and four Academy Awards — directed by Steven Soderbergh and the Academy Award nominated film I Am Sam. Zwick most recently directed Jack Reacher: Never Go Back starring Tom Cruise.

Zwick has been honored with three Emmy Awards, the Humanitas Prize, the Writer’s Guild of America Award, two Peabody Awards, a Director’s Guild of America Award, and the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Award from the American Film Institute. He received an Academy Award as a producer of 1999′s Best Picture Shakespeare in Love.


Juliette Kayyem
National Security Analyst

Juliette Kayyem currently serves as the Robert and Renee Belfer Lecturer in International Security at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she is Faculty Director of the Homeland Security Project. She is the founder of Kayyem Solutions, LLC, providing strategic consulting to Fortune 500 companies and start-ups in technology, risk management, mega-event planning, and cybersecurity. She is also an on-air national security analyst for CNN.

Kayyem spent her government service managing complex policy initiatives and organizing government responses to major crises in both state and federal government. Most recently, she was President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. There, she played a pivotal role in major operations including handling of the H1N1 pandemic and the BP Oil Spill response; she also organized major policy efforts in immigration reform and community resiliency. Before that, she was Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s homeland security advisor, guiding regional planning and the Commonwealth’s first interoperability plan, and overseeing the National Guard. She has served as a member of the National Commission on Terrorism, a legal advisor to US Attorney General Janet Reno, and a trial attorney and counselor in the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department.

Kayyem hosts a regular podcast entitled The SCIF for WGBH, Boston’s local NPR station, and her newest book, Security Mom: An Unclassified Guide to Protecting Our Homeland and Your Home, was published in 2016.

She is the recipient of many government honors including the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Coast Guard’s highest medal awarded to a civilian. In 2013, she was named the Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial columns in the Boston Globe focused on ending the Pentagon’s combat exclusion rule against women, a policy that was changed that year.


David Scharia
Chief of Counter Terrorism Branch, UNSC

Dr. David Scharia is Chief of Branch at the Counter Terrorism at the United Nations Security Council CTED. Dr. Scharia is in charge of counter terrorism policy and heads a large group of international counter terrorism experts, advising the Security Council on counter terrorism matters. Dr. Scharia is an internationally recognized expert on counter terrorism. His articles and books have been published in the most prestigious academic forums including Oxford University Press, Harvard National Security Journal, and Hebrew University Press. Recently, he was invited to serve as a scholar in residence at Columbia Law School and NYU Center for Global Affairs.

Between 1995-2006, Dr. Scharia worked at the Attorney General office in Israel as lead attorney in major counter-terrorism cases before the Supreme Court of Israel. during these years he also represented the Attorney General to hte Law and Constitution Committee of the Israel Knesset.

Dr. Scharia holds an L.L.B., L.L.M. (Magna Cum Laude), and a PhD from Tel Aviv University.