By Vittoria Volgare Detaille
Arab women in the filmmaking industry are leaving their mark on the world. They have won or been nominated for some of the most prestigious international awards. Like Twenty Impossibles (2003), by Palestinian filmmaker Anne Marie Jacir, was the first Arab short film to enter an official selection at the Cannes International Film Festival. In the past three years, Lebanese Nadine Labaki, Syrian Waad al-Kateab, British Palestinian Farah Nabulsi and Tunisians Kaouther Ben Hania and Meryam Joobeur all were nominated for Oscars.
Global streaming service and production company Netflix sees Arab women’s potential as well. In 2021, it released AlRawabi School for Girls, its second original Arabic series. The TV mini-series celebrates women not only on the screen but also behind the camera. Jordanian Tima Shomali co-wrote and directed the show, and the Amman-based company FilmZion, which Shomali founded in 2013, co-produced it.
Shomali is not new to this industry. As a little girl, she had particularly clear ideas about who she wanted to become. ‘As a child, I used to gather my sisters and cousins, and I created stories. I had my mom’s old video camera, and I would act, write the story and direct it. I’ve always done so many things at the same time. Even for the credits, I would pass the papers in front of the camera,’ she recalls. Today, in her mid-30s, the multi-talented Shomali is more than a director; she is also a producer, writer and actress. ‘In every project, I never do only one thing,’ Shomali comments.
This feature article is part of The Womanhood Issue. To continue reading this article digitally click here to buy a digital copy of the issue. To read the entirety of this article in print, click here or here to order a print copy of the issue.
The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.