International Women’s Day
On March 8, 2013 “Women’s International Day”, I would like to salute all the Women around the world, especially those who are Film makers. I have chosen four women from the Arab World who deeply impressed me. Let me start with Muriel Abolross who used to be my instructor at the university. Frankly speaking , She taught me a lot!! Second, Niam Itani whom I met on Twitter, affected me with her short film “Super Full”. Third, Inas el Degheidy broke and defied all the Taboos in her feature films. Last but not least, Karimeh Abbud ,who was called “Lady Photographer”, is the fist Photographer Woman in Palestine .
*Muriel Aboulrouss is an award-winning cinematographer from Beirut Lebanon, and the first woman to actually work as a
cinematographer in the Arab World. Her numerous cinematography credits include award-winning documentaries such as “The oil spill”, “Lesson in History”, and “Marcedes”; all directed by “Hady Zaccak” and “Teta Alf Marra”, biographical documentary by “Mahmoud Kaabour” featuring his grandmother.
She won “Best cinematography” at the Arab Screen International Awards for “The shower”, short film by Michel Kamoun. She also shot his first feature film “Falafel” (Best Film at Namur film festival 2006).
In 2009, she shot her 3rd feature film “Stray Bullet”, by Lebanese Director Georges Hashem.
Muriel also shot “Shankaboot”, the first Arab web series produced by the BBC trust fund and Batouta films. “Shankaboot” won Reflet d’Or for best web series fiction at Geneva Film Festival 2010 and also won the digital Emmy award in 2011.
*Niam Itani was born and grew up in Beirut. She got a BA in Communication Arts (Radio/TV/Film) in 2000 Lebanese American
University (LAU) in Beirut and an MA in Education in 2005 from Hollins University in Virginia, USA where she completed an MFA in Screenwriting in 2010. She is currently a part-time faculty member at LAU where she teaches Script writing. She worked for five years at the Al Jazeera Network as a Program Producer, and that was the only official employment she had to go through. She wrote, directed, and produced several films, mostly documentaries. The ones she is most proud of are The feature documentaries for Al Jazeera called ‘Rokam Al Bared’ (‘Ruins of Nahr Al Bared’), two short student narratives, and the most recent is her first narrative short ‘Super. Full.’.
Her documentary ‘A Foretold Memory’ was selected for the Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival in 2005. Niam’s graduate student film ‘Nickelheads’ won Best Comedy at the Trebas International Student Film Awards in Toronto in 2010. Her short narrative ‘Super Full’ won Best Screenplay during the MAISHA Screenwriting Lab in Zanzibar 2010.
*Inas El Degheidy was born in Cairo, “one of eight children of a conservative, middle-class family”. Her father was teacher of Arabic. She graduated from the Cinema Institute in 1975, and directed her first film Pardon Law in 1985. She also worked on about forty feature film as an assistant to major Egyptian Directors. She directed her fist feature film “Sorry, The Law” in 1985 and she is considered as the first Egyptian female to enter who worked as a director.
Her upcoming movie Al-Samt (Silence) will tackle the subject of a woman sexually abused by her father. The Egyptian Board of Censors has demanded that the script be modified to ensure that the father is portrayed as “mentally sick and thus unrepresentative of the general Egyptian male figure. Her Film “Al bahethat an al horeya” won the prize of the best Arabic film in 2004 at Cairo International Film Festival.
Karimeh Abbud is also known as the “Lady Photographer” was a Palestinian professional photographer and artist who lived and
worked in Lebanon and Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century. After being given a camera as a 17th birthday present, Abbud started photography in 1913 in Bethlehem (Mrowat, 2007: 72-8). At First, she took photographs of her family, friends and the landscape of Bethlehem. Her first signed picture available at present is dated October 1919. When she was a student in Beirut, she took a special trip to Baalbek to take photos of the archeological sites there. Abbud set up a home studio and made money by taking photos of women, children, weddings and other ceremonies, as well as many photos of Haifa, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Tiberias. Karimeh’s studio work became very popular in the 1930’s. She also took photos of places with religious importance, such as Kafr Kanna in Galilee and The Spring of the Virgin Mary near Nazareth, which is the place reputed to be located at the site where Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would bear a son.