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Ateyyat El Abnoudy

Award-winning Egyptian documentarist Attyat El Abnoudy is one of the few film-makers in the Arab world whose work has been consistently acclaimed in the West. She is widely regarded as the finest exponent of documentary cinema in Egypt and one of the finest Arab film directors alive today.

She concentrates upon social issues revolving around the Egyptian, Arab and African underclasses, especially upon the lot of women, a choice of subject matter which has limited her popular appeal and frequently invited the displeasure of Arab governments. However her artistry is universally applauded.
Trained as a lawyer, Ms. Abnoudy studied film-making at the Egyptian Film Institute and later at the International Film and Television School in England. Her first film, Horse of Mud (1971) won three international prizes, Grand Prix and FIPRCI at Grenoble Film Festival, Grand Prix at the Manheim Film Festival and Grand Prix at the Damascus Film Festival. Her next film Sad Song of Touha (1972) won the French Critics Prize at the Grenoble Film Festival. The 22 films she has made between 1971 and 1996 have won over 30 international awards.

Her film Permissible Dreams (1983), an Egyptian-German co-production, was broadcast on Berlin Television, Channel 4 (UK), Greek Television, and throughout the Scandinavian countries as well as in the Arab world. Rhythm of Life (1988), a German-British co-production, was broadcast on Channel 4 (UK) and ZDS, the German 2nd Channel.

Her most recent films are Rawya (1995), a profile of a peasant woman artist, Girls Still Dream (1995), a study of the problems of Egyptian teenage girls, and Democracy Days (1996), tracing the role of women in the 1995 Egyptian parliamentary elections.

A retrospective of her work, "Humble People's Film-Maker," has been shown at the Cinemateque of Hamburg and Auxberg Film Festival in German, at the Cinemateque of Bologna in Italy, the Tempere Film Festival in Finland and at the Los Angeles Film and Video Festival in the United States.

Ms El Abnoudy has served on the International Jury of the Manheim Film Festival, and has been head of the International Jury Committees of the Oberhausen Film Festival in Germany, the Klibia Film Festival in Tunisia and as Executive Director of the Second International Documentary Film and Short Subject Festival in Egypt.

She was formerly married to Egypt's leading poet Abdel Rahman El Abnoudy. (09/09)


Girls Still Dream
A film by Ateyyat El Abnoudy, 1995, 24 min., Color

In this engrossing new documentary, award-winning filmmaker Ateyyat El Abnoudy realistically portrays the challenges facing girls in a country where o...



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