‘Where do we go now? Arab women behind the camera’
5th and 21st June 2015
a special Middle East film program curated for
‘Powerful, poignant, vibrant and provocative’, is how guest curator Ludmila Cvikova – Head of International Programming at the Doha Film Institute in Qatar from 2011 to 2014 – qualified her selection of award-winning films.
The programme, which also included premieres, fiction films, documentaries and short films, offered the best feature films of the past two decades. With interviews, guests and debate.
The program was a great success with the audiences as well as at the Dutch press:
Trouw, Belinda van de Graaf:
Culturele persbureau, Helen Westerik:
EYE press release:
EYE’s film programme ‘Where do we go now? Arab women behind the camera’ offers a perhaps unexpected view on modern Arab women as strong and emancipated film directors. From 5-21 June, EYE will be screening work by renowned female Arab filmmakers that challenges existing conceptions of democracy, freedom of expression, emancipation and religion in the Arab world.
The Arab world, the cinema included, is a male-dominated world. In recent decades, however, an increasing number of films have been produced by female filmmakers, actors and artists. In 1994 Moufida Tlatli was the first Arab woman to achieve international fame with her full-length feature film Les silences du palais.
Women increasingly assert their rights in the traditional Middle East. Nowadays they study at top European universities, speak perfect English and move into prominent positions when they return home. This also has its effect on the world of film, which embraces more and more successful women filmmakers who win prizes at international film festivals. We need only think of Nadine Labaki (Lebanon), Annemarie Jacir, Najwa Najjar (both from Palestine), Haifa Al-Mansour (Saudi-Arabia), Nojoom Al Ghanem (United Arab Emirates) and Mais Darwazah (Jordan), all of whom have been invited by EYE to take part in a panel debate.
Some of the films included in EYE’s special programme ‘Where do we go now? Arab women behind the camera’ have not been released in the Netherlands before. The emphasis is on the best films by modern female Arab film directors of the last two decades. Their films are highly personal stories of love and family, often set against the backdrop of the political and social contexts of the countries involved. This way they frequently challenge the prevailing ideas about democracy, freedom of expression, emancipation and religion in the Arab world.
The programme also features first or second films by the younger generation of filmmakers, documentaries, films starring famous actresses, work by female artists as well as the classic Les silences du palais. In addition, EYE presents work by male directors who have made powerful films about or with women, films by Middle Eastern filmmakers who have had to settle elsewhere (diaspora filmmakers) and short films by upcoming filmmakers from the region. The programme aims to offer a fresh perspective on a different side of the Arab world.
‘Where do we go now? Arab women behind the camera’ focuses on the MENA region (Middle East North Africa). The title of the programme, ‘Where do we go now?’ is based on Nadine Labaki’s highly successful film of the same name on the political situation in Lebanon, a melting pot of religions. The universal question it raises is: ‘Where do we all go from here?’, a question which is of equal relevance to the entire Middle East and Europe.