We Are Not Princesses is a documentary film about the incredible strength and spirit of four Syrian women living as refugees in Beirut as they come together to tell their stories of love, loss, pain and hope through the ancient Greek play, Antigone.
Our film uses intimate footage and animation to follow how this group of women find laughter and purpose as they come together to perform the ancient Greek play, Antigone. In 2014, the Open Art Foundation put together a theatre workshop with Syrian women refugees in Beirut to help these women find community and to help process their trauma as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria. This film focuses on the resilient, intelligent, articulate Syrian women who are picking up the pieces of their lives and moving forward in spite of the ever-worsening situation back home.
Where We Are
We Are Not Princesses experienced a sold-out premiere in New York on November 14, 2018, at the biggest documentary film festival in the United States, DOC NYC. The screening was followed by a Q&A with Joung-ah Ghedini Williams, Head of Communications for UNHCR in New York, together with Sara Maamouri & Hal Scardino, the film's producers. Click here to read UNHCR's write-up of the event and the 2014 theatre workshop in Beirut that the film was based on.
On March 23rd and 24th, 2019, as part of the Arab Film Days festival in Oslo, We Are Not Princesses had two sold-out screenings. Itab Azzam, the film's co-director, and Producer Hal Scardino were present, as was Heba Sahly, one of the stars of the film. This was the first time any of the women in the film had seen it in full. It was an emotional experience for everyone, particularly Heba.
One week later, Itab went with the film to western Norway where it was being screened twice as part of the Arabisk filmfest 2019 in Bergen. The screenings were again full with people sitting on the floor and in the aisles. A standing ovation followed with lots of tears at the end. A lively discussion ensued in both instances.
Arab World Premiere
We were honoured to be invited to open the 21st International Ismailia Film Festival in Egypt last week. Sara Maamouri went from our team and it was a wonderful experience with two well-attended screenings and lots of great questions.
Back in New York
We were back in New York this past weekend and partnered with the Women's Refugee Commission to screen the film at the Museum of the Moving Image. Dale Buscher, Senior Director of Programs at the WRC, joined Sara and Hal for a panel discussion after the film. We look forward to future events with the WRC as we both share a vision for the merging of art and advocacy.
Thank you to all our screening hosts so far. It is an exciting time. Here are the screenings that we have coming up. Please click the dates for more information.
April 27 Boston Independent Film Festival, Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA, USA
May 8 IRC International Documentary Film Series, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA, USA
We look forward to publishing more dates, including our UK premiere, once the festivals have made the official announcements. We will also continue to fulfil our original goal in the coming months of bringing the conversation to the classroom as we will be screening the film at two world-renowned educational institutions. More details on that to follow.
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