Filmmaker Hayat Aljowaily Speaks at IFC’s Event | Up Next: Inside Africa’s Creative Industries

November 27, 2021

On November 17, 2021, the International Finance Corporation organised an event “Up Next: Inside Africa’s creative industries,” to discuss the importance of investing in the continent’s creative economies. This virtual event featured Africa’s next generation of creatives and industry leaders in music, fashion, and film with the goal of highlighting investment opportunities in Africa’s creative economies and its role in sustainable development.

The event was divided into four main sections: music, tech & streaming, fashion and film, and featured a number of renowned politicians and artists. Among them were Makhtar Diop, the Managing Director of the IFC, Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, Phiona Okumu, Head of Music for Spotify Africa, and Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane.

Among the youngest speakers, and the only Arab and Egyptian speaker, was emerging Egyptian filmmaker Hayat Aljowaily. Aljowaily, whose latest short film Maybe Next Time, won the Audience Award at the Tripoli Online Film Festival last year, spoke about her journey to becoming a filmmaker, and the importance of championing diversity in film, both in front of, and behind the camera.

“I realized that growing up as an Egyptian abroad, I never saw myself represented in the movies I was watching… “ explained Aljowaily. “When I entered the industry, I realized the same issue existed behind the camera. Whenever I looked around me, I realized I was one of the only women, and usually, the only African woman. But what if when we start having films start to reflect the diversity of our world? Those are the movies I want to make.”

Throughout the event, all the speakers highlighted the immense potential of Africa’s creative industries, both as a way to support their countries’ economies, but also to promote their culture throughout the world.

Aljowaily is an Egyptian filmmaker currently based in Paris. Having grown up in five different countries, Hayat has always been interested in issues related to global politics, cultural exchange and identity.

After having completed a B.A. in Social Sciences – with a specialization in law and the MENA region – at Sciences Po, Paris’ Menton Campus, she completed a B.A. in Film and Media Studies at Columbia University.

She is set to use films as a means to promote social cohesion and cultural understanding. She focuses on projects related to Africa and the Arab World.

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