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How to Raise $10,000 and Change a Woman’s Life. Meet Egypt’s Most Tenacious Filmmaker

Photography: Remon Elmarkiz 

Last Friday, as Egypt’s Creative Industry Summit 2014 gave birth to the first hub for the creative ecosystem in the country, we sat with Sharine Atif, an astounding brave filmmaker who turned her childhood form of escape into a resource to inspire women: movies.  

You recently raised US$10,000 on a crowdfunding campaign for women empowerment through films. How did you manage to do that on your own? 

I had entered a competition at the crowdfunding platform Zoomaal with 25 other women and we had 6 weeks to raise funds for our project “A Way Out”, a series of 4 short films about brave Egyptian women who stand up for what they want. 

Crowdfunding was really hard; it’s not easy to self-produce. You need to get people involved, and they are sometimes afraid to donate with credit cards, so I organized events and collaborative performances, and followed up with them non-stop. The project will present docu-dramas with 3D animated real-life stories of four inspiring women.

What is it like to be an independent filmmaker in Egypt? 

It is really challenging, but since the revolution, the country has seen lots of independent filmmarkers and artists rooting out of the monopoly mainstream industry, so it’s been really refreshing. I have had the chance to direct short films and video promos related to sex education and women sports in Egypt, and it gave me the chance to network and make more contacts.

Marketing yourself seems to be one of the keys; any advice for young filmmakers?

Find a team. When u first start out you need to use every single resource, every expertise you have to reach to the goal. If you have a boyfriend, or a neighbor, or a colleague that has some extra time and is passionate about the project, then you should take advantage of that. A big part of it is networking and helping people in their projects: it’s not just about being self-centered, you need to build trust with others.

For more information: Don’t miss Sharine’s inspiring life story and the Zoomal campaign here. Follow the updates on her project A Way Out on Facebook, or follow @SharineAtif on Twitter.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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