Pam Nasr, Clams Casino (still), 2018. Film, 11 minutes.


SAF Online: Film

Programme 1
In the Name of Love: Self-identification in MENA Female Cinema
Five short films
Friday, 29 May 2020
8:30 pm (GMT +4)

Programme 2
Narrative feature film (TBC)
Friday, 12 June 2020
8:30 pm (GMT +4)

Programme 3
Ghosts of Songs: Oral Histories in MENA Female Cinema
Three short films
Friday, 26 June 2020
8:30 pm (GMT +4)

Sharjah Art Foundation presents a series of online film screenings in collaboration with Habibi Collective, a digital film archive that celebrates the work of female filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa. Taking place on 29 May, 12 June and 26 June, the screenings will feature acclaimed short and feature-length narrative, documentary and experimental films by female artists from the Arab world.

Each programme in the series focuses on a different theme, mapping various traditions and explorations of feminist narratives across filmmaking in the region. Screening on 29 May, Programme 1 features five short films on themes related to memory, coming of age and familial relations. Programme 2 on 12 June consists of a narrative feature film, while Programme 3 on 26 June explores the use of oral histories and archival materials in MENA female filmmaking, looking particularly at films that offer alternatives to mainstream histories.

See below for a detailed outline of Programme 1:

In the Name of Love: Self-identification in MENA Female Cinema
Friday, 29 May 2020
8:30 pm (GMT +4)

Beyond issues of representation, filmmaking has offered itself as a tool for women to explore their own subjectivity and sense of becoming. The five films in this programme deconstruct mainstream narratives of maternal bonds, beauty standards, love stories, cooking and the archiving of memories. They offer alternative ways of seeing by rewriting visual codes through the eyes of the traditional ‘other’. Recognising the differences that draw us together, these films reflect on how seeing ourselves through our own eyes can be the most creative path towards self-love.

The Story of Milk and Honey (2011) 
Director: Basma Alsharif
Experimental | 10 minutes
Arabic with English subtitles

In the experimental video The Story of Milk and Honey, part of a larger project with photographs, drawings and text, an unnamed man recounts his attempt to write a love story in Lebanon. Through voice-over narration that weaves together images, letters and songs, a tale of defeat develops into a multi-layered exploration of how we collect information, perceive facts and recreate history. 

This film premiered in Forum Expanded at the Berlinale (2012) and was also screened at the 17th International Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil (2011–2012) and the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2012), among others.  

Part of the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, The Story of Milk and Honey was produced with a visual arts grant from the Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander, Spain.

Clams Casino (2018)
Director: Pam Nasr 
United States
Narrative ǀ 11 minutes

Clams Casino interweaves the lives of four Latina women. Arcelia is desperate to connect with Gladys, her self-involved mother and a harsh critic, and Rocío battles with Lourdes, her secretive teenage daughter. Both daughters use technology to fill the void, but will they find a way to genuinely connect?

The film won Best Short Film at the LA Femme Film Festival (2018); Best 1st Time Director, Oniros Film Awards, Saint-Vincent, Italy (2018); and first prize in the Best in Show category at the SVA Short Film Festival, New York (2018). The film was also screened at the New Orleans Film Festival (2018).

This film was a part of the first edition of Sharjah Film Platform, January 2019.

The Fall of the Standard of Beauty: The Iranian Nose (2019)
Director: Sahar Ghorishi
United Kingdom
Documentary | 11 minutes
English with Farsi subtitles

Set against a backdrop of Iranian traditional music, this two-part documentary presents interviews with young Iranians in the diaspora who are subjected to toxic Western beauty standards. The film ignites important dialogue on how the Iranian diasporic community can wield identical and insidious pressures while growing up in the West. Part 1 introduces the subjects, who share their thoughts and experiences of Western beauty standards. Part 2 continues the conversations, with a focus on the prevalence of plastic surgery and self-love. Director Ghorishi appears in the documentary and discusses her reasons for creating the film.

The film was created as part of Journey Of/To Dawn, a platform for Iranian creatives, and was featured as editorial content on Dazed Beauty. 

Staff of Life (2019) 
Director: Moza Almatrooshi
United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
Documentary | 5 minutes
Arabic, Farsi and Urdu with English subtitles

Staff of Life is a short film documenting the process of bread making. Arabic, Urdu and Farsi voice-overs narrate the story, which champions resilience and questions imposed standards of assimilation and conformity to survive.

This film was commissioned by BBC New Creatives with the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2019), and screened as part of ICA’s Current Transmissions (2019).

Chergui (2019)
Director: Chahine Fellahi
Experimental | 5 minutes
No dialogue

Combining archival footage collected from the Cinémathèque in Tangiers, Chahine Fellahi presents scenes of women walking in the countryside. As the women’s movements form and unform, the film evokes the nature of memory, remembering and forgetting. Chergui, meaning ‘the eastern wind’ in Arabic, carries these memories away. 

This film was screened at the Arab Film Festival, San Francisco (2019).


The livestream can be accessed at 8:30 pm through this link. As the films will be screened consecutively and as they cannot be streamed on demand, viewers who join the streaming at a later time will not be able to watch the entire film programme from the beginning.

Previous online screenings organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation Film Programme include Black Girl (1966), directed by Ousmane Sembene; The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011), directed by Rania Stephan; The Landing (2019), directed by Akram Zaatari; and Al Araba Al Madfuna I (2012) and Al Araba Al Madfuna II (2013), both directed by Wael Shawky.

Future screenings and upcoming films will be announced via our website and social media channels.

For more information, visit

About Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the Foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The Foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.

Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the Foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The Foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and learning programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the Foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world.

Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third largest of the seven United Arab Emirates and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. It was named UNESCO's Arab Capital of Culture in 1998 and the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019.

Media Contact

Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa