Controversial theme at largest film festival in the MENA region

When Carthage Film Festival in Tunis opens on 3 November it has a very special theme on the programme: Sexual and gender-based violence. Grouped under the “No, means no” headline, a total of five documentaries and a panel discussion will put the theme of sexual and gender-based violence firmly in focus during the festival.

The Carthage Film Festival, taking place 3-10 November 2018, is the biggest film festival in the enire Middle Eastern region and normally attracts more than 200.000 visitors. Introducing a theme like “No, means no” on this festival is very important explains Rasmus Steen, head of IMS’ Documentary Film programme.

“Sexual and gender-based violence and harassment is one of the most widespread, devastating and extreme types of discrimination. It remains a universal taboo preventing survivors from being vocal, seeking support and justice.”

Ever since conceiving the idea six months ago, Rasmus Steen has worked relentlessly since to make it happen. With almost 15 years of experience with documentary film, Rasmus Steen hopes that the theme will generate a discussion on how documentary film can amplify and transform the debate surrounding sexual and gender-based violence across cultures.

“We know that documentary films work well as a tool to shed light on difficult topics, but how effective is documentary film in confronting taboos and combating – or inciting – sexual and gender-based violence in different national contexts? And what role can media and documentary film play in affecting social change and raising awareness of sexual and gender-based harassment as a human rights violation?” he says.

Five movies, five countries

As part of the “No, means no”, five documentaries from five different countries (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Denmark), all having to do with violence against women, will be screened during the festival. All screenings will be followed by Q&As with the film directors and producers.

The theme culminates in a panel discussion where Tunisian and international experts dedicated to combating sexual and gender-based violence, will debate and share local and international perspectives. The discussion will also examine some of the gaps and opportunities preventing – and enabling – women and men to live a life free from violence and harassment in public and private.

For full programme, see below.

IMS is also present at the Carthage Film Festival 2018 through our support to a three day post-production workshop and through the two IMS-supported documentaries, participating in the main competition of the festival: Amal by Mohamed Siam (Egypt) which has already won many international film prices, and We could be Herores by Hind Bensari (Morocco), produced by Vibeke Vogel from Bullitt Film, Copenhagen, which is in the run for an 2019 Oscar nomination.