Cinema in the Arab world is at an exciting phase of setting itself apart from its commercial golden age, with budding directors and writers fighting to show their vision of their worlds through film. These storytellers face several challenges, especially as indie filmmakers, but these challenges multiply in the face of female filmmakers who are striving to tell their stories. However, it is an exciting time for women in film, as these inspiring women will show you, there's no shortage of inspiring women who are working in film in the Arab world.
1. Annemarie Jacir - Palestine
Director and producer of several award winning films, Annemarie Jacir's short "Like Twenty Impossibles" was the first Arab short to be an official selection of the Cannes International Film Festival.
2. Jehane Noujaim - Egypt
Documentary film director and cinematographer Jehane Noujaim was nominated for an Academy Award for her film "The Square", which won three Emmys.
3. Nujoom Al-Ghanem - UAE
Nujoom Al-Ghanem is a director, producer and scriptwriter with more than 10 films under her belt, from shorts to feature documentaries, with her film "Nearby Sky" winning Best Non-fiction Feature at the Dubai International Film Festival.
4. Djamila Sahraoui - Algeria
Director and screenwriter of 10 films to date, Djamila Sahraoui's film "Yema" was an official selection for the Venice Film Festival.
5. Ayten Amin - Egypt
Documentary director and screenwriter, Ayten Amin began her career during the Egyptian revolution with her film "The Bad" in "Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Politician."
6. Nadine Labaki - Lebanon
Nadine Labaki is an actress and director, with more than a dozen films under her belt. Her film "Where Do We Go Now" won the Cadillac people’s choice award at the Toronto Film Festival.
7. Laila Marrakshi - Morocco
Director Laila Marrakshi has worked on five feature films, including "Marock," which screened at The Canne Film Festival.
8. Farah Abushwesha - Libya
Producer and director of almost 20 films, Farah Abushwesha founded the bi-annual BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum.
9. Haifaa Al-Mansour - Saudi Arabia
Director Haifaa Al-Mansour received three awards from the Venice Film Festival for her films "Wadjda".
10. Hala Alabdallah - Syria
Director and cinematographer Hala Alabdallah's movie "I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave" won the Doc/It award at the Venice Film Festival.
11. Aida El-Kashef - Egypt
Director, producer, and actress Aida El-Kashef's short "Rhapsody in Autumn" won second place in the Muhr Arab Award at the Dubai Film Festival.