Thanks to a generous donation from Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, a world-renowned scholar and a distinguished professor at UCLA, College of the Canyons’ (COC) Cinema Department now has a unique collection of 500 horror films.
Abou El Fadl—the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor in Islamic Law at the UCLA School of Law and Chair of the UCLA Islamic Studies Interdepartmental Program—first fell in love with the horror film genre years ago when he “understood their equalizing and transcendent power.”
“Regardless of our backgrounds, we all have an inherent knowledge of what is evil, what it looks like and feels like,” Abou El Fadl said in a press release. “Horror films emphasize what we all share as human beings, the same fears, worries and anxieties. Horror films do just that, create a powerful common experience, no matter who we are, where we come from or what we believe in.”
The UCLA professor first formed a connection to COC when he was interviewed several times by Guido Santi, an independent filmmaker and a COC Cinema Department instructor, for a project about Islamaphobia.
“Guido and the professor struck up a friendship and for some reason, this professor who has a law degree and is highly respected in his field, is a big horror film buff and he has a large holding of books, manuscripts and films,” said Gary Peterson, chair of the COC Cinema Department.
As the two professors worked together on the Islamaphobia project, they discussed Abou El Fadl’s DVD collection and COC’s regular screenings and events.
Because he had so many horror film titles, Abou El Fadl decided to donate hundreds of his films to COC, making it one of the largest film donations to the department to date.
“What it means is now we’re able to offer some other curriculum that we were not able to offer in the past,” Peterson said.
Peterson also hopes that the recent donation will encourage others in the community to donate films, memorabilia and items to the COC Cinema Department in the future.
“It also means that if there’s somebody else in the community that has film or film memorabilia, they know our department is interested in taking some of those items,” Peterson said. “They would get an acknowledgment from the Foundation for tax purposes… We are happy to take donations.”
COC plans to celebrate the recent horror film donation with a double-feature screening of “Baskin” and “The Babadook” Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Hasley Hall Room 101. The screening, which is free and open to the public, will be hosted by Abou El Fadl who will discuss his love of horror films with the audience.
In addition to his love of horror films, Abou El Fadl is one of the leading experts on Islam and Islamic Law who lectures on human rights, law and terrorism, national security law, Islamic jurisprudence, poltical asylum and human trafficking.
He has authored more than 14 books, served on the board of directors for the Human Rights Watch and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom.
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_