Friday 26 February 2021

Home - Articles - On Our Radar: Five Revolutionary Female Filmmakers of Middle East

24Frames: In the region of the underrepresented artists, having the viewpoints of marginalized communities on our radars gains a heavier weight than usual. In recent years, Middle Eastern female filmmakers have utilized cinema as a medium of self-expression and a podium for demanding social change.


Here are 5 women that are paving the way for a new wave of female perspective in the Middle eastern movie scene.



Egypt: Aida El-Kashef


As a self-proclaimed feminist, Aida El Kashef started her film career in 2009 when she directed her first short film called Rhapsody in Autumn. as a part-time journalist, Kashef’s camera usually gravitates toward tales of oppressed women such as sex workers and female prisoners. Kashef was one of the first protestors to occupy the Tahrir square during the Arab Spring and she documented footage of the revolution as it was unfolding. Aida is also an actress and was received the Best Supporting Actress award from Indian International Film Awards for her role in Ship of Theseus.


Filmography includes: A Tin Tale, Rhapsody in Autumn,  The Day I Ate The Fish




Syria: Sara Fattahi


Damascus-born artist, Sara Fattahi’s early career includes working as an art director for soap-operas and an animator for channels like SpaceToon. Fattahi’s first short documentary 27 Meters, was released in 2013 and two years later she produced her first feature documentary Coma for which she received Best First Feature Film Award at Vixions du Reel. As a director, Sara Fattahi has a symbolic approach in depicting the tragic fates of women in war-torn Syria.


Filmography includes: Coma, Chaos




Palestine: Annemarie Jacir


As one of the filmmakers chosen for the 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema list, Annemarie Jacir is a female director that is anything but an unfamiliar figure. Having 16 movies under her belt, Jacir has been celebrated in prominent festivals like Cannes and Academy Awards. Jacir is an avid advocate of independent cinema and has founded Dreams Of a Nation Palestinian project in hopes of promoting Palestine’s cinema. Her stories deal with the displaced lives of refugees and the political landscape of occupied Palestine through a slow and minimal gaze.


Filmography includes: Wajib, Salt Of This Sea, When I Saw You




Saudi Arabia: Haifaa Al-Mansour


Haifaa Al-Mansour is Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker and is often regarded as one of the most controversial faces of the country’s cinematic scene. Due to strict rules against working women, Al-Mansour directed her first feature film Wadjda while hiding inside of a van and using a walkie-talkie to talk to the crew. In spite of constant death threats she receives, she’s determined to seed a positive transformation in the Arab world, Al-Mansour stories focus on women taking ownership of their forgotten and forbidden rights.


Filmography includes: Wadjda, Women Without Shadows, Marry Shelly, The Bitter Journey




Lebanon: Nadine Labaki


Highly acclaimed Nadine Labaki started her career in film as an actress. She later changed direction and released her debut film Caramel which got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Growing up in Lebanon during the civil war has heavily influenced Labaki’s work. As an activist, her movies deal with themes of poverty, feminism, violence, war, and child labor. Labaki uses the film medium as a means of protest and calls her work her way of “Revolt”. Her accolades include the Jury Price of Cannes film festival and Best Narrative Feature in Melbourne International Film Festival.


Filmography includes: Caramel, Where Do We Go, Capernaum



Written by Negar Fard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

24Frames | All About Short Films