Shashat is an independent non-profit Palestinian women cinema NGO, formally registered with both the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Culture, whose focus, since its founding in 2005, is on the development of young Palestinian women filmmakers so that they are producers of a gendered modern and creative Palestinian culture mindful of the social and cultural implications of women’s representations.
Shashat believes that culture is a deep impact agent promoting a culture of human rights, social inclusion, civic participation, tolerance and gender equality. It is an effective tool which reaches different social groups across geographic, political, religious and economic barriers as it touches human sensibility and emotions, bringing about reflection and rethinking of values, attitudes and behaviour.
Shashat’s Board of Directors is composed of women and men active in the fields of culture, academia and development. We are committed in all of our activities to the integration of the creative, human rights, educational and economic implications of women’s cinema. This is the vision and mandate which underlies all of Shashat’s activities and programs. Shashat’s main office is in Ramallah and in its commitment to counter Palestinian fragmentation I opened an office in Gaza City in 2012.
The Palestinian geo-political context generated a stereotypical representation of Palestine as a location of suffering, conflict and war, which has diverted attention from it being a rich society producing gendered creativity and knowledge. By circumscribing knowledge of Palestine and its women within those parameters it has denied its ability to organize and produce its own narratives, stories and images. Shashat Woman Cinema is committed to developing and supporting young Palestinian women filmmakers so as to provide them with skills, resources and exposure to tell stories of Palestinian women and Palestinian society.
Shashat since its founding has produced one hundred and twenty short fiction, documentary and experimental film for young women filmmakers trained or mentored by Shashat, as well as twenty-five TV programs on community discussions of some of these films all broadcasted on Palestinian satellite channels. It subtitled six international features into Arabic and held eleven editions of its festival “Shashat Woman Film Festival in Palestine” which opens in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Its films have been screened and discussed by over 200,000 participants in 265 locations and in collaboration with over 450 cultural, community, university, college and school in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.
Shashat received the Palestinian Ministry of Culture “Award for Excellence in Cinema” in 2010 and its General Director, Dr. Alia Arasoughly, received “Outstanding Woman Cultural Leader Award” in 2013. In 2017 she received “Outstanding Woman Leader who Made Change” in the cultural field from both the Palestinian Ministry of Women and the Palestinian Ministry of Culture. Shashat was honored by Sale International Women Film Festival in Morocco in 2008 for making women’s cinema accepted on the grassroots level, by the Algerian Ministry of Culture’s “Committed Film Festival” in 2012 for giving young Palestinian women a cinematic voice, and was selected by the Euromed Women’s Foundation for “your successful practice…which has a strong added value and could inspire other initiatives in the Euro-Mediterranean region.”
SHASHAT WORKS IN FIVE PROGRAMS
- Gender Equality in the Creative Industries Program- Training and Production for young women from peripheral communities and locations.
- What’s Tomorrow – Adolescent and youth media interventions.
- Big Sister Program – Shared capacity and sub-granting to community organizations.
- Yalla nshouf film! [Come let’s watch a movie!] Films for All in the belief that culture is a human right.
- Cinematic Culture Outreach – Specialized film library, Cine club, research\studies, subsidized equipment rental, networking.