US Embassy awards Egyptian women filmmakers Hollywood fellowships at Aswan Film Festival

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

The US Embassy in Cairo has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to supporting the 2024 Aswan International Women Film Festival. In collaboration with the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization Film Independent, the Embassy has bestowed three Film Residency Awards upon visionary Egyptian women filmmakers. These awards will send the recipients to Hollywood for tailored programming and introductions to industry leaders as they finalize the production of their fiction or documentary films.

The distinguished winners include Yomna Khattab, director of “50 Meters”, Sondos Shabayak, director of “And Me Too”, and Mavie Maher, director of “Fragile”.

In her acceptance speech, Mavie Maher emphasised the significance of sharing films that convey the stories of her people and amplify their voices on a global stage. She stated, “It is our fundamental right to be seen and heard for who we truly are. This award represents a crucial step toward empowering the reshaping of collective consciousness through a feminine narrative.”

During the festival week, the US Embassy in Cairo and Film Independent organized a four-day Creative Producing Workshop led by US filmmakers Avril Z. Speaks and Kelly Thomas. This workshop was specifically designed to support and promote the creative expression of Egyptian filmmakers through short film projects. It was open to emerging women filmmakers from Aswan and the surrounding governorates.

US Embassy Cairo’s Minister Counselor for Public Diplomacy, Ruben Harutunian, expressed pride in partnering with the Aswan International Women Film Festival. He highlighted the festival’s mission to foster cross-cultural dialogue and strengthen people-to-people ties. He added, “The festival serves as a bridge, connecting stories about and by women worldwide, ensuring that their voices are heard and their narratives seen. We eagerly anticipate witnessing the final projects of the Egyptian filmmakers who will have the opportunity to develop and showcase their work in the United States through the Film Residency Awards.”

The Aswan International Women Film Festival celebrates cinema as a powerful medium for promoting cross-cultural dialogue. It showcases the best of Egyptian and international productions in documentaries and short films. Meanwhile, Film Independent ( continues to champion visual storytelling by fostering a global community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and a unique vision. Their mission is to inspire filmmakers, cultivate audiences for their projects, and contribute to the diversification of the film industry.

The US Embassy in Cairo actively collaborates with festivals and filmmakers across Egypt, facilitating workshops, panels, and masterclasses led by American filmmakers. These initiatives strengthen the arts and cultural partnership between the United States and Egypt.

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