Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

AIWFF, US Embassy in Egypt Organize Creative Production Workshop for Women Cinema

Tue 23 Apr 2024 | 01:31 PM
Rana Atef

The 8th Aswan International Women Film Festival and the US Embassy in Cairo combined forces to organize the Creative Production Workshop in cooperation with Film Independent. The workshop was dedicated to women's cinema.

US Producer and Director Avril Speaks, and US Independent Producer, Director, and Educator Kelly Thomas participated in the event as mentors, and they talked about their experience with the Aswan International Women Film Festival with SEE News.

Both artists were asked about the main hinders that face women as directors and producers.

Speaks said: "For women directors and producers, we often aren’t taken seriously and have to fight for our voices to be heard. One of our biggest challenges as artists is trusting that we have stories that are worth listening to."

On the same question, Thomas commented: "The primary hindrances that face women directors and producers in the industry are that of access to resources and networks."

Regarding their meetings and discussions with rising women filmmakers, Speaks described: "Speaking out about topics that affect us as women which are important to express. Whether it is education, health issues, or violence, issues that affect women affect the entire world and film is such a great way to bring awareness to the challenges of our times."

On her side, Thomas highlighted: "Rising women filmmakers want to talk about the issues that affect their daily lives — their health, their family, their communities, their personal relationships. These are great topics for stories that can be made for the screen."

Both mentors were asked about the objectives of the workshops. Both revealed that the key objectives of the workshop are empowering women filmmakers and developing their skills in producing and pitching their stories.

After that, both filmmakers explained that the importance of the festivals dedicated to women's cinema.

Speaks said: "I’m so thankful for AWIFF’s commitment to advancing women’s stories and giving them the tools they need to get their powerful stories into the world." 

She added: "Working with the US Embassy and AWIFF has been a transformative collaboration between filmmakers in this region and the Film Independent community, including myself as a mentor. I’m excited for future partnerships between these entities and increasing the awareness of these talented filmmakers around the globe!"

On her side, Thomas described: "Festivals dedicated to women’s cinema highlight the contributions of women and their stories to cinema and allow them to develop networks and access resources that can help get their projects to the screen."

"The US Embassy is incredibly supportive of women and women’s stories. It’s a pleasure to collaborate with them in furthering women’s opportunities in the film industry. The Aswan Film Festival has been so welcoming and generous in inviting us to meet and develop relationships with Egyptian filmmakers and the people of Upper Egypt."

Next, Speaks was asked about the achievements African American filmmakers accomplished. She expressed: "African-American women have been at the forefront of every movement of culture. I believe there aren’t enough films that encompass the historical contributions that African American women have made in areas of art, science and history. Black women artists have taken great strides to highlight these accomplishments and show how they have shaped our world."

Finally, Thomas was asked about the tools women need to express their voices. She asserted: "They need access to resources so that they can develop their stories, produce their films and make them accessible to audiences. The Aswan International Women Film Festival is key to highlighting women’s unique experiences and sparking discussion among wider audiences."