Completing the picture

The rise in the number of female filmmakers at Abu Dhabi Film Festival is something worth celebrating

Female Emirati filmmakers can tell unique stories. Lauren Lancaster / The National
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Cinema is a reflection of culture and an index of society’s changing dynamics. This is why greater participation by women in filmmaking is a positive indicator not only for the film industry, which benefits from diversity, but for the development of society at large.

This year, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival has seen a significant increase in the number of female filmmakers represented. Of the 53 films to be screened as part of the Emirates Film Competition (EFC), 37 have been directed by women, ­including 13 Emiratis.

So much of Emirati culture occurs within the family, with little mixing of genders, that Emirati women have unique stories to tell. Only they can put on screen some of the stories that occur within families, when the men are not present. These stories are often the ones that resonate beyond cultures: stories of families, of parents, of children and all the associated dramatic tension.

The more women who enter the cinema world, the more active a role cinema will play in shaping society’s ideas and perceptions.