Woman, Arab and... filmmaker. A viable situation? If so, some questions: Is there even one Arab filmmaker who has provoked an explosion of scorn for asserting in front of Marxist militants – don’t laugh – his desire to become a filmmaker? Is there even one Arab filmmaker who was forced to hide from his family that he wanted to make films? Is there even one Arab filmmaker who was called mad by X number of producers for having dared to propose to go and film a guerrilla war? Is there even one Arab filmmaker who has been told from the cradle that he fundamentally wasn’t a “creative” being? To inspire the works of others, fair enough! To write novels dealing with “feminine” subjects is allowed, but barely so (and reluctantly, by the way). But to take the camera in order to talk about human dignity (especially when insisting on women’s liberation), about national dignity? Oh, no, lady! That’s men’s business.
Once again, the guerrillas did not tell me about the difficulties of the coming ordeal. This strategy increasingly infuriates me. It’s secrecy plain and simple. Yet an intellectual had warned me: “They say it’s a two-hour walk. It takes me five or six hours.” Yet the Yemeni cameraman exclaims when they go to fetch us water: “But these men are like goats. They don’t walk. They are jumping on the rocks.” I still get angry when their “few hours of walking” become ten or fourteen.
“Given this situation, the three of us – a filmmaker, a critic and a technician in the Arab cinema – have decided to establish an ‘Assistance Fund’ for the self-expression of the Arab woman in the cinema. A yearly prize of 10,000 ff (about $2500) will be awarded to the best script for a short film from those proposals submitted by Arab women undertaking their first film.”