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5 of the Best Arab and North African Women Filmmakers

November 18, 2020

In the Academy’s 92-year history, only five women have been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Director category and only one has actually walked away with the coveted golden statue. This speaks to the erasure and exclusion of women from positions of power, not only in Hollywood, but in almost every industry and field. In the Arab and Muslim world, where women face unprecedented challenges to their civil liberties and individual rights, female filmmakers have always been the keepers of the MENA region’s feminist history. These Arab and North African filmmakers have paved the way for generations of women in film and weren’t always recognized for it. But in centering female narratives, they have smashed glass ceilings and challenged the patriarchal limitations imposed on women’s creativity, easing our societies into necessary conversations about female representation and gender equality. Nadine Labaki Undoubtedly one of the most accomplished filmmakers to ever emerge from the Middle East and North Africa, Nadine Labaki has paved the way for many Lebanese, Arab and North African women in film. In 2019, she became the first Arab woman to ever be nominated for an Academy Award…

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