New Prize Created for the Advancement of Women and Girl Filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa

by Beth Hanna
October 22, 2013 1:17 PM
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Haifaa Al Mansour at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival

The Girls Impact the World Film Festival along with the Dubai International Film Festival have partnered to offer a new film prize, the DIFF Prize for Advancing Women and Girls. The prize will be awarded to an aspiring student filmmaker from the Middle East and North Africa region for a short (3–5 minute) original film on an issue related to the advancement of women and girls globally. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award.

The contest offers an exciting new platform for young (under 25) filmmakers to share their stories and visions in the post-Arab Spring era. Participating films must address global women’s issues such as education for girls, maternal health, violence against women and girls, women’s political participation, and economic independence.


The creation of the prize is timely, as Saudi Arabian woman filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour's "Wadjda," which centers on a young girl who dreams of owning a bicycle despite cultural stigmas and barriers, was selected this fall as the country's first-ever Oscar entry to the Foreign-Language race. (We currently think it's a frontrunner for a nomination.)  The film is the first to be made by a Saudi woman, and the first to be shot inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Check out our interview with Mansour here.

Abdulhamid Juma, chairman of the Dubai International Film Festival and GITW judge, stated: “The film prize has been created to award young women who are passionate about filmmaking and bring their projects to audiences at home and abroad.”

Film submissions for the DIFF prize began in August; the final deadline is December 31, 2013. The winning submissions will be screened-- and the final winner selected -- at an awards ceremony at Harvard College on February 22, 2014. Guidelines and entry requirements can be found here; entries may be submitted here.

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More: Festivals, News, Haifaa al Mansour

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