"Women Behind the Cinematic Image: Scenes and Stories" discussion.
Amid a large attendance of visitors at the Jesuit Cultural Center, a discussion was held t under the theme "Women Behind the Cinematic Image: Scenes and Stories", in the presence of director Nada Riyad, Maggie Morgan, and cinematographer Haya Khairat.
The discussion was moderated by producer Aya Dawara, within the proceedings of Alexandria Photo Week, in collaboration with Her Stories and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt.
Initially, Dawara pointed out that this discussion is regarded as the first activity of Her Story Films about women in the film industry. Dawara asked the participating female filmmakers about their films, stereotypical portrayal of women in cinematic works, how these portrayals look like, and what photos behind the camera look like.
Director, producer and AUC professor, Maggie Morgan, stated, "We are pleased with the number of films submitted to the short film competition at Cairo International Film Festival, with an average of 4,500 works. This means that there are multiple talents who deserve to be granted real opportunities". Morgan added, "There is a huge gap in gender issues, when it comes to males and females. We hope to build a righteous society that includes both genders. We need cinematic content that addresses men's issues and presents models in men in their true senses, apart from stereotyping. Additionally, Morgan pointed out that she feels responsible for societal stories and tales that deserve to be highlighted. Cameras are directed at these stories and tales for discussion through gender, minorities, and other real issues".
Director of cinematography Haya Khairat, noted, "There aren't enough female photographers in the film industry at Arab and international levels. There are numerous difficulties facing women who wish to be part of the film photography field. They must have masculine manners and characteristics to impose their professional characters and succeed in their work. This puts huge psychological pressure on female photographers". She also emphasized that that state requires exerting indescribable efforts to exploit the opportunities granted to women and develop them to preserve these opportunities and offer opportunities for others in order to become influential figures in the film industry. Eventually, director and producer Nada Riyad said, "We need programs that offer out-of-the-box opportunities for women to join the film industry in numerous specializations. This is so significant for achieving diversity, especially in the male film industry. Awareness is so important for changing reality and self-assertion". She continued, "Amateur filmmakers should take advantage of real opportunities and exert utmost efforts. It is a real chance to correct mistakes and develop the professionalism of the industry to reach the best possible directing image in all stages of film making". Riyad also pointed out that she film making is not directed to existing audiences; its goal is raising questions and creating new audiences that believe in the content of cinematic issues in order to change the lives of people and society". Concerning the main idea of Her Story Films, Dawara said, "It is a production company -but with a unique concept- founded by actress Mona Zaki and entrepreneur Mai Abdul Azim. It aims at producing films that shed light on society from the viewpoint of female filmmakers in the Arab region. I worked with them and presented the company's first events; a film incubator in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt. This incubator aims at developing and producing a group of short stories for young female directors and Egyptian writers. Currently, the incubator is working on developing 20 short films with a huge team. Additionally, a competition will be held for the 20 films that will reach the development stage to select 3 short films to be produced under the "Her Stories" umbrella".