Magazine article Screen International

EU Project Spotlights Arab Women Filmmakers

Magazine article Screen International

EU Project Spotlights Arab Women Filmmakers

Article excerpt

The Programme would be financed under the auspices of the European Neighbourhood Instrument, with euro4.5m coming from EU funds and euro875,000 as third party contributions, to start operations from next year.

MedFilm's key activities would be to:

* promote participation and involvement of women in the film industry;

* support the access to the market, both south-south and across the Mediterranean, of films;

* support the audience development for films tackling social issues, including gender issues, on a regional level;

* communicate about the programme and facilitate the access to south Mediterranean film professionals to opportunities offered by the EU funded projects - such as Creative Europe's MEDIA Sub-Programme - and other donors.

The programme will be open to short and feature-length fiction films, short and feature-length documentaries, animation as well as TV series and soap operas.

According to the Commission's action document: "MedFilm aims to reach out with alternative messages to counter discourses coming from fundamentalist/radical groups, open the space for the less heard voices of society, such as women and youth, as well as promote the involvement of women in the film sector."

In addition, the new initiative will work to "fight stereotypes through fostering the exchange of films across the Mediterranean; and promote freedom of expression by allowing film makers to tackle sensitive issues on a regional level - thus combatting traditional or new forms of censorship."

Image of women

The document noted that "the image of women shown in films is usually based on gender-based stereotypes", but this programme would be "an opportunity for allowing professional filmmakers to pass on different messages that will help improving the portrayal of women and contribute to reduce to stereotypes."

The architects of the MedFilm initiative point out that "the lack of professionalization of women working in cinema also contributes negatively to their image" and that, in the Arab world's male-dominated film sector, Arab women have many difficulties in developing their own projects despite their skills and creativity.

In addition, the MedFilm programme will "also tackle other issues such as extremism/fundamentalism, gender, youth and will need to strongly cooperate with initiatives in this sector at regional and bilateral levels in order to understand the specificity of these areas of development but also to influence these programmes by involving the film industry in their programmes."


The European Parliament (EP) took notice of the European filmmakers' growing concerns about reforms to the regulations for geoblocking and territoriality when the MEPs voted on the copyright report by the German Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda in Strasbourg on Thursday (July 9).

Reda's report aimed to give non-binding guidelines to the European Commission (EC) on the EP's stand on copyright for consideration in the EC's own proposals for new copyright laws by the end of this year.

The approved version of the report, with 445 votes to 65 with 32 abstentions, pointed out that "the financing, production and co-production of films and television content depend to a great extent on exclusive territorial licences granted to local distributors on a range of platforms reflecting the cultural specificities of the various markets in Europe. …

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