The Cairo International Women’s Film Festival is celebrating its 11th edition this year. We are also celebrating that our festival, which started off as an adventure in 2007, has developed to become a leading example in the Arab region, with many similar festivals starting to launch in Egypt and in other parts of the Arab World. The CIWFF is no longer the only festival concerned with screening films made by women in the region. Which means that the festival was able to present an example that has opened-up new and diverse prospects for a cinema that sees the world through women’s eyes.
The CIWFF is no longer an isolated project that is fighting against the current, whether in terms of the films it screens or the discussions that follow. With the increasing number of similar projects over the past years, our festival has become one of many initiatives concerned with presenting a new type of cinema to Egyptian audience. A cinema that breaks away from criteria enforced by commercial cinema and by the box office.
CIWFF might still be the only festival that presents its screenings free of charge. However, we hope that in the future there will be other similar initiatives; whether in cinema, theatre or music…etc. that would make culture available to more Egyptians; those who do not have the financial means to benefit from the current cultural space.
As is the case every year, we have also subtitled all our films to Arabic so that our screenings are not limited to a small cultural elite.
In addition to the large number of films and sections that the festival has this year, we are happy to have Lebanon as The Country in Focus. This will be the first time the festival has an Arab country for this section. We wanted this country to be Lebanon because of the unique filmmaking experience which it has presented over the past years and that cannot be ignored. More importantly because of the leading role women have had in this country’s cinema production. We are honored to present a sample of this experience through a selection of films and by hosting several Lebanese women filmmakers who we hope will act as an inspiration for other Egyptian and Arab directors.
CIWFF also celebrated this year with a new project to support women filmmakers in their post-production stage, launching the Rough-Cut workshop. Six films from the Arab region will be participating in the workshop, which will be taking place parallel to the festival. Six women directors will be meeting with a jury of women filmmakers that have the necessary expertise to guide them through the development of their films. The festival will be giving post-production support to the winning film/s.
Finally, we hope that more films are made by women and that those films can find a way to different screening venues.
Founder and director of the Cairo International Women Film Festival