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Cairo International Film Festival to Become First Arab Festival to Sign Gender Equality Pledge

CIFF will also be only the second African festival to sign this pledge.

Staff Writer

The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) has just become the first Arab film festival to sign the 5050x2020 gender equality charter that was initially launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. Under said pledge, festivals commit to recording the genders of filmmakers and key crew involved in all submissions, while being more transparent in selection processes and publicly listing committee members.

The signing of the pledge will take place at the gala screening of Saudi Arabian fantasy drama, Scales, by filmmaker Shahad Ameen, which had its premiere in Venice Critic’s Week in September. The film will also be participating in CIFF’s Horizons of New Arab Cinema Competition during this year’s festival, running between November 20th and 29th.

With a good track record of female representation, CIFF president Mohamed Hefzy noted that last year, the festival had celebrated eight female filmmakers who had had an impact on Arab cinema. The films featured in the showcase included Hala Khalil’s Nawara, Hala Lotfi’s Coming Forth By Day, Mai Masri’s 3000 Nights, Annemarie Jacir’s Wajib, Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Wadja, Kaouther Ben Hania’s Beauty and the Dogs, Sofia Djama’s The Blessed and Nujoom Al-Ghanem’s Sharp Tools.

Around 60 festivals worldwide have signed the 5050x2020 gender equality pledge including Berlin, Locarno, Venice, Toronto, San Sebastian, London, Sarajevo, Los Angeles, Rome and New York, as well as the Annecy animation and Clermont-Ferrand shorts festivals. 

This also makes CIFF the second African film festival to hop on board the inclusive wagon, next to the Durban Film Festival in South Africa.