The six-day screening to be held in Dubai (March 3rd to 8th) offers filmmakers, producers and writers a platform to showcase their work.
Workshops, discussions and networking events will also take place during the week, concluding with the WOW awards gala event.
WOW Film Fair Middle East has been spearheaded by event founder and television anchor, Hermoine Macura, who has previously collaborated with the WOW Australian chapter.
‘As the first Australian English-speaking news anchor in the Middle East, I could see the need for more female-orientated platforms for women to showcase their work in arts, film and TV,’ says Macura.
‘If you look at the statistics, women are highly underrepresented in the film industry.’
The WOW Film Fair aims to empower women on and off the screen by offering them a platform to showcase their work, connect, engage and inspire the community, as well as reward excellence. The event draws films and participation from across the world. All ticket sales go towards charities that support women and children, and each year the program focuses on subjects important to women.
‘From health to technology, we have a variety of speakers that attend and share at the WOW talks every year in addition to the films which range from non-fiction to fiction and documentary,’ explains Hermoine.
‘Health remains a core focus of many films year upon year, and there are a lot more creative films for 2017.’
Event workshops focus on creative and educational programs, including editing and film workshops by leading Australian and Emirati directors.
The gala dinner will feature the WOW awards that recognise female excellence in film, arts and the business community. Past award categories have included Humanitarian of the Year, Business Leader of the Year, and Sports leader of the Year. In 2017, two new awards will be included for men who are ‘champions of change’.
Hermoine describes the WOW Film Fair Middle East as a ‘love project’, one that she has partly funded herself through her own business, Straight Street Media. She hopes the Dubai event will create avenues for women in the Middle East to showcase their work and potentially develop projects in the Middle East or Australia.
‘I believe art and culture are great ways to communicate – the World of Women Film Fair offers a platform to share views, ideas and films that shape our world as women, but also as a global community,’ says Hermoine.
‘It’s been so rewarding to share my culture as well as champion a project that empowers women from the Middle East to live their dreams.’
The entire program for WOW Middle East will be launched in January 2017 on wowmiddleeast.com
The WOW Film Fair Middle East is supported by the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR), under its Women in Leadership Flagship Program. The CAAR was established by the Australian Government in January 2003 to strengthen ties between Australia and the Arab world. The next CAAR grants round opens in February 2017, for projects deepening connections between Australia and the Middle East.