In 2019 the founders of Rawiyat met on a regional program in Tunisia and Morocco to share our experiences and challenges during our first and second feature films. We realised how many struggles we had in common: isolation, legal and financial challenges, a lack of psychological support, imbalance in western co-productions, difficulty to access information, lack of social safety net and various forms of harassment. All of us felt a lack of a network and solidarity not only in the region but globally.
Very often when producing independent films, it can be a lonely, isolating and draining experience, both financially and emotionally. This is amplified when you are making films in a region of unrest, conflict and upheaval. As a result, emerging female filmmakers often don’t make it to their second or third films. Without interception these voices will be lost.
We felt a need to change this, through a sisterhood that not only supports us as filmmakers but also supports others. By creating a network and structure that can be accessible across the region and that can also be passed on to the next wave of regional talents who hope to make sustainable change.
In 2020, the emerging women filmmakers founded the collective RAWIYAT meaning storytellers in Arabic in the female form.