Middle East

Women's Optimism in the Face of Oppression

'Women's Optimism in the Face of Oppression' features stories of women who have overcome extreme circumstances.

Screenings will be introduced by the directors and followed by a panel discussion and Q&A

Panel Chair: Sara Ishaq, Film Director and Producer

Panel: Emanuela Zuccala and Simona Ghizzoni, co-directors of Just to Let You Know That I'm Alive; Zain Duraie, director of Horizon and Nadje AlAli, Professor of Gender Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies

Just to Let you Know That I'm Alive, documentary

Image copyright Emanuela Zuccala and Simona Ghizzoni
Image caption 'Just to Let You Know That I'm Alive' gives voice to 12 Sahrawi women who were victims of violence over the 40 years of Western Sahara's history of conflict.

The story of Western Sahara is marked by a dark sequence of human rights violations with no trials and no justice. During the war (1975 - 1991) between the the Polisario Front and Moroccan troops, the Moroccan government built a 2,700 km wall through the territory. Since then, the Sahrawi people have been living divided, with part of the population in occupied Western Sahara, and the other part in refugee camps in Algeria. Just to Let you Know That I'm Alive gives voice to 12 Sahrawi women who were victims of violence in both Western Sahara and the Algerian refugee camps. The film reconstructs the forgotten history of the Sahrawi people through their testimonies, diaries and old photographs, creating an intimate, female perspective.

Directed by:

Image copyright Emanuela Zuccala and Simona Ghizzoni
Image caption Simona Ghizzoni and Emanuela Zuccala

Emanuela Zuccala is an Italian journalist, writer and filmmaker with a focus on human rights and women's issues. She is the recipient of several awards, including the European Parliament Journalism Prize, the EU's 'For Diversity. Against Discrimination' prize and the Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Award.

Simona Ghizzoni is an Italian photographer and filmmaker and focuses on women's conditions. She has been awarded several prizes included the World Press Photo award and the PhotoEspana Ojodepez Award for Human Values.

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Media caption'Just to Let you Know That I'm Alive' gives voice to 12 Sahrawi women who were victims of violence over the 40 years of Western Sahara's history of resistance.

Horizon, short film

Image copyright Zain Duraie
Image caption 'Horizon' is a short film about one woman's resilience to overcome social and personal hurdles.
Image copyright Zain Duraie
Image caption Zain Duraie

Horizon is a dramatic short film about Faten, a mother, wife and homemaker. A troubled yet ambitious soul, she feels trapped in her listless routine of household chores. When her overworked, poverty stricken husband Mohammad announces his decision to take their children out of school to help him earn a living, Faten refuses to allow him. The combination of her own illiteracy and his feelings of emasculation become the hurdles that she must overcome to protect her children from a future similar to her own.

Director: Zain Duraie is an independent writer and director based in Amman, Jordan. She gained her diploma from the Toronto Film School in 2009. Zain received further training at Philistine Films working with acclaimed director Annemarie Jacir and producer Ossama Bawardi on the 2012 feature film When I Saw You. Horizon is Zain's debut film.

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