The film industry in Egypt has a long history of great achievements, from its first screenings in 1896, to its title as Capital of the Arab film world.
Despite the many economic hurdles the country has faced since 2011, Egyptian cinema and television are making a comeback and female directors are leading the way.
Here’s a list of five well acclaimed Egyptian female directors you need to know:
1. Kamla Abu Zekry
Kamla Abu Zekry started her career as a co-director in Hello America (2000) with Egyptian director and writer, Nader Galal.
She went on to make a name for herself as a successful director with films like Malek W Ketaba (2005) and as a co-director in several movies like18 Yom (18 Days, 2011).
She collaborated with Egyptian screenwriter Mariam Naoom on various TV series such as A Girl Named Zat (2013,) Segn El Nessa (Women's Prison, 2014,) Wahet El Ghoroub (Sunset Oasis, 2017,) and Wahed-Sefr (One-Zero, 2009.)
Her films have also been screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
2. Sandra Nashaat
Sandra Nashaat attended Cairo’s Higher Film Institute, while simultaneously studying French literature at the University of Cairo.
Her most famous movies are Mallaki Iskandariya (Private Alexandria, 2005) and Leh Khaletny Ahebak (Why Did You Make Me Love You, 2000).
She's had her share of music videos, short films, and documentaries as well.
3. Ayten Amin
Born in Alexandria, Ayten Amin studied Film Criticism in 2001. Her short movies, Her Man (2006) and Spring 89 (2009,) were screened in over 10 international film festivals such as Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.
Her most recognized documentary is Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Politician (2011,) which she co-directed with Amr Salama and Ahmed Abdullah, with her part of the contribution being The Bad.
Her first feature film, Villa 69 (2013,) catapulted the start of a promising career.
4. Mariam Abo-Ouf
Mariam Abo-Ouf is the daughter of the famous actor Ezzat Abo-Ouf. She studied political science before moving to England to study film-making.
She debuted with the short film Taxi and worked as an assistant director to several directors including Kamla Abu Zekry and Sherif Arafa.
She then directed episodes in the television series Lahazat Harega (Critical Moments, 2007) and directed her own series Embratoreyet Meen (Whose Empire, 2014.)
She also contributed as a director in 18 Yom (18 Days, 2011.)
5. Hala Khalil
Hala Khalil’s projects include short films, documentaries, TV series, and feature films.
Her films, The Kite (1997) and Ahla El Awkat (The Best of Times, 2004,) have received awards from the Arab Film Festival, Rotterdam Arab Camera Festival, and the Rabat Film Festival.
Khalil belongs to the new generation of Egyptian female commercial and independent filmmakers who emerged in the first decade of the 21st century.
Her most recent noticeable work is Nawara (2015.) It has received national and international critical acclaim, being nominated at the Dubai International Film Festival for best feature, and winning best actress by Menna Shalabi.