World of Women’s Film Fair: Celebrating Females through the Big Screen

Indian-born director Nisha Pahuja

A collection of short films, including some by well-known Emirati directors, offers a look into how women see the world and promotes and awards women working in the industry.

The fourth edition of the World of Women’s (WOW) Film Fair Middle East has kicked off, with the opening two days (3-4 March) taking place in the first open-air VOX Cinema in the region, located in Dubai’s Galleria Mall. The other works will be screened in the VOX Cinema at the Mall of the Emirates until 8 March. The festival features nearly 60 films, mostly by female directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers, which aim to empower women on and off screen.

Emirati poet, scriptwriter and director Nujoom Al Ghanem

Regional & International Talents
An impressive 14 Middle Eastern filmmakers, including four Emiratis, are taking part. One of the Emirati films, “Sounds of the Sea,” is about a young boy asking his teacher to help him revive an old sea song that has not been performed the way it should in decades. The film is by Dubai’s poet, scriptwriter and award-winning director Nujoom Al-Ghanem, an Ohio University student who has helped changed people’s views of Emirati women.  Another movie, “Sea Shadow,” is a love story about two young Emirati villagers in Ras Al Khaimah. The endeavour comes from Nawaf Al-Janahi, who started acting when he was seven. He then went on to study the art of film making in California and direct several award-winning, independent short films.

Emirati Nawaf Al-Janahi, the director of Sea Shadow

Works from 24 countries around the world are also being presented. One of the standout documentaries is by Indian-born director Nisha Pahuja. A Tribeca Film Festival winner, “The World Before Her” looks into the lives of a Hindu fundamentalist and a beauty pageant winner, two really different young Indian women. Another prominent screening comes from American Tracey Anarella. “Not Black Enough” explores class warfare and the cross-tides that African-Americans are dealing with within the black community.

Tracey Anarella explores class warfare in Not Black Enough

“We’re impressed and delighted with the range and quality of films that have been entered this year,” the fair’s Founder and Director, Hermoine Macura, said. “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 CEO of Straight Street Media added.

WOW Film Fair Middle East’s Founder and Director, Hermoine Macura

Ticket sales from the women’s charity event, which is supported by the Australian government’s Council for Australian Arab Relations, go to its Islamic Affairs approved charity, the Al Jalila Foundation.

The WOW Film Fair will also include talks, panels and workshops, as well as a Charity Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony to commemorate International Women’s Day.

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