Telling Tales & Crafting Their Storytellers - New York University Abu Dhabi Campus
WVN’s first stop in the UAE was a screening at the New York University Abu Dhabi campus. The program was made up of our award-winning documentaries and well-made documentaries as the NYU students were focused on documentary filmmaking that semester. The screening was followed by a panel discussion that included Laila Hotait, WVN filmmaker of “Basita,” Bijoyeta Das, WVN filmmaker of “Saturday Mothers of Turkey,” and Michelle Nickelson, co-founder of Women in Film & Television UAE.
The audience was interested in how the panel went about making their films a reality from idea to funding. They asked questions such as, “What motivated you to make your film?” and “How do I find financing for my film? Doesn’t it require a lot of money?” Woven into the discussion were questions about being a woman in the film industry. One student asked the panel if it was difficult to make a film as a Muslim female director. The panelists responded that they actually were discriminated against more for their appearance than their religious affiliation. Our panelists were from different religious backgrounds. The panelists went on to say that there are great advantages for being a woman in the film industry. Mainly, women have access that men do not have to certain stories. There are also more funding and programmatic opportunities made available to women now than in the past.
The night wrapped up with a reception that gave the students an opportunity to engage with our filmmakers. Laila Hotait held a documentary filmmaking workshop for a group of interested film students. In the meantime, Al Bayan newspaper interviewed Miriam Wakim, WVN’s Director of Development as well as our two filmmakers. You can read their coverage of the event here.
Director of Global Programs