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10th Women’s Film Week brings alive 13 powerful stories

By Jocelyn Chau , Tom Grant - Mar 09,2022 - Last updated at Mar 09,2022

HRH Princess Basma delivers a recorded speech virtually during the opening ceremony of the film week on Monday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The 10th edition of “Women’s Film Week” kicked off in Amman at an opening ceremony on Monday under the slogan “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, to commemorate International Women’s Day. 

Under the patronage of HRH Princess Basma, Honorary Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women and in partnership with Jordan’s Royal Film Commission and UN Women, the initiative aims to raise awareness about women’s issues through the work of various national and international filmmakers.

The film week’s public screenings will run at 6PM and 8PM from March 8 until March 12 at the Rainbow Theatre in Jabal Amman.

The screenings this year showcase 13 powerful stories of women from all over the world and have been produced in a number of languages, such as French, German, Italian, English, and Swedish, and are shown with English or Arabic subtitles.

“Since the first festival in 2012, we have been fortunate to see some truly wonderful films to bring to us some very talented women from around the world, and to make real steps forward in our struggle for gender equality,” Princess Basma said during a virtual speech.

The opening ceremony discussed women’s rights and the potential of women’s leadership on climate change mitigation and recognising women and girls’ important contributions to a sustainable future, according to the event’s organisers.

“Women are most likely to suffer the most from climate change. Why? Because women are more likely to live in poverty than men, because we have less access to basic rights like freedom of movement, or access to healthcare, or the ability to acquire land because we face systematic violence that tends to escalate in periods of instability,” the princess added.

Princess Basma noted that, “By showing on the big screen how climate change is already affecting women, by making it impossible for people to ignore the changes that are already happening, we can ask for more people to join the fight and help save our planet in generations to come.” 

Artistic Director of Women’s Film Week and Roya TV presenter Ghada Saba told The Jordan Times that: “Without gender equality, we are not going to have a sustainable future.” 

“Today we are not only talking about women in politics, but also women who are affected by the economy especially during the pandemic, and women in films — women’s struggles from all over the world,” Saba said. 

She also noted that students and the youth are one of the target audiences of the public screenings. 

“It is very important for the youth to come and see other people’s experiences from all around the world, such as Australia, Canada, Chile, and Alaska, to see how much we have in common and that we all have the same struggles,” Saba noted.

Jordanian film producer Deema Azar said during a panel discussion on women’s roles in the multimedia industry that “the very first step for any change starts with awareness; we have to acknowledge that something is not right and needs to be fixed”. 

“If you want to know what is happening in any community, you have to watch their series — the mirror of the community,” Azar added.

This initiative is supported by the embassies of Austria, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Sweden, Switzerland, an individual Egyptian submission, the French Institute of Jordan, and the Ireland Film Institute. 

Representatives from the Greater Amman Municipality and UN Jordan also attended the event.

UN Jordan Women Representative Ziad Sheikh concluded the event by thanking the long-standing support Princess Basma has given the UN and spoke on how “incredibly encouraging it is to see the range of issues broadening, as well as the number of countries wishing to participate increasing”.

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