The rich cinematic culture of the Arab world has a long history of established women filmmakers. However, the Western patriarchal discourse continues to construct Arab women by placing them in the role of the victim, where their voices are valued only if they come from this stereotyped perspective. Amal Ramsis, founder and curator of the Cairo International Women's Film Festival, has gathered a selection of documentaries and feature films from Arab women filmmakers to challenge the long-held narratives rooted in the orientalist Western gaze about the Arab world and to showcase the works of great filmmakers that have always remained underrepresented in Berlin’s cinemas.
The film series ARAB WOMEN FILMMAKERS: A Manifold Gaze features a wide range of films from Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, opening up a thematic spectrum from revolution and civil wars to love and identity. The eurocentric expectation – which also widely determines the international film market – that women filmmakers in the Arab world only deal with women's rights, is therefore not fulfilled. Making films in the turbulent world of today is instead perceived as a provoking debate, a reflection, an inspiration towards a better future, a way to critically deal with the past and historical memory.
Amal Ramsis is a filmmaker and founder of the Cairo International Women's Film Festival and the Between Women Filmmakers Caravan. Moreover, in the One-Minute workshop programme she teaches women the basics of cinematography and film directing. Her short films and documentaries have been awarded numerous international prices.