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LONDON – Organizers of the fourth Doha Tribeca Film Festival, the annual cultural celebration of Doha Film Institute (DFI), are holding up the upcoming edition as an indicator that women filmmakers from the Arab world are starting to bridge the gender divide.
The divide, oft-touted as an issue in the region, is an issue that regional movie-makers are keen to narrow.
With this year’s edition opening with Mira Nair‘s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, organizers are also pointing to the fact that this year’s shindig includes eight Qatari films helmed by women directors, eleven films by Arab women filmmakers will unspool in the Festival’s Arab film competition, while the contemporary world cinema, special screenings, and tribute to Algerian cinema sidebars feature a further six titles directed by women.
The Arab film competition boasts Maggie Morgan’s Asham: A Man Called Hope, which narrates the stories of six couples at different stages in their relationship, set against the lead up to the Jan. 25 Revolution and Hanan Abdalla’s In the Shadow of a Man, that presents the personal revolutions of four women from different backgrounds in post-revolution Egypt.
Also In Competition are Tamara Stepanyan’s Embers, a tribute to the memory of the filmmaker’s grandmother, A Deep Long Breath by Tahani Rached which documents the 18 days that brought about the end of dictatorship in Egypt; Rafea: Solar Mama by Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief, which follows the story of a Jordanian Bedouin mother who leaves her home to travel to India to obtain an education; The Lebanese Rocket Society co-directed by Joana Hadjithomas billed as a reflection of the reawakening of hopes in the wake of the Arab spring; Sanctity by Ahd Kamel, which documents the story of a pregnant, young Saudi widow who will endure anything to protect her unborn child; L`Mrayet by Nadia Rais about a man who is hired to write the future; Ismail by Nora Alsharif about a young Palestinian boy living in a refugee camp who struggles to escape death when he and his little brother stray into a minefield; When They Slept by Maryam Touzani about the relationship between a grandfather and a granddaughter and The Wall by Odette Makhlouf Mouarkech about living everyday life in Beirut during the civil war.
In addition to her opening night duties, Nair will also lead a panel on the making of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a film part financed by the Doha Film Institute.
The festival runs Nov. 17 through 24.
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