The unique film festival which gives audiences a powerful view of the world as seen through the eyes of women will present a fascinating collection of short works from around the world when it returns to cinema screens in Dubai.
The fourth edition of the World of Women’s Cinema – WOW Film Fair Middle East, held in association with VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, will feature around 58 films predominantly by female directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers from 3-8 March.
Prominent Emirati directors among international line-up aiming to wow audiences at World of Women’s Film Fair Middle East
They include 14 film-makers from the Middle East, among them four Emiratis and six Iranians, as well as others from 24 countries across five continents, with an increased number of male film makers committed to empowering women on and off the screen.
Among the Emirati films to be screened is ‘Sounds of the Sea’ by poet, scriptwriter and award-winning director Nujoom Al Ghanem, in which a young boy enlists the help of his teacher to revive an old sea song which has not been performed properly in decades.
Another, ‘Sea Shadow’, a love story about two young Emirati villagers in Ras Al Khaimah, is from Nawaf Al Janahi, who started acting at the age of seven, studied the art of film making in California, and has directed several award-winning independent short films.
Supported by the Australian government’s Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR), the WOW Film Fair Middle East is a women’s charity event, with all ticket sales going to its Islamic Affairs approved charity, the Al Jalila Foundation.
“We’re impressed and delighted with the range and quality of films that have been entered this year,” said the fair’s Founder and Director, Hermoine Macura, CEO of Straight Street Media. “This underlines the growing recognition the festival is receiving from women in the film industry across the world, and we’re sure that cinema audiences will find a great deal to enjoy and appreciate.”
The WOW Film Fair Middle East is the first women’s short film fair that promotes and awards the talents of women directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers in the film industry internationally.
Designed as a festival of discovery, celebration, debate, networking and an inspiration for new work, the non-profit event was launched four years ago by Dubai-based Straight Street Media to enhance the status of women, both on and off the screen, by supporting and advancing women working in the film, television and related screen industries.
The opening two days of the festival on 3-4 March will feature a series of screenings at the first open air VOX Cinema in the region, located on the rooftop of the Galleria Mall in Jumeirah. Other attractions will include a secret garden market and special childcare programmes by British Orchard Nursery, and special needs training programmes and workshops.
On 5 March, UAE and Australian government officials will be among the special guests at an official red carpet launch by the Australian Ambassador to the UAE, Arthur Spyrou, with a VIP screening at Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi.
The festival then continues over the following three days at Vox Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, with each day’s programme also including a series of talks, panels and workshops.
Among the films aiming to wow audiences will be “The world before her”, in which Indian director Nisha Pahuja looks into the lives of two very different young Indian women – one a Hindu fundamentalist and the other a beauty pageant winner.
Another, ‘Not Black Enough’ from American Tracey Anarella is about class warfare and the cross-tides that African-Americans are dealing with within the black community.
Commemorating International Women’s Day on 8 March, the fair’s Charity Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony takes place the previous evening at the Park Hyatt Dubai. New this year, the festival will be also recognising men nominated by the public for achievements in promoting gender parity.
Additional awards will recognise high achieving Arab women across various fields. Award categories include Humanitarian of the Year, Business Leader of the Year, Personality of the Year, Sports leader of the Year and Rising talent Leader of the Year.