NYWIFT Partners with the Royal Film Commission – Jordan on Training and Mentorship Initiative

New York Women in Film & Television Partners with The Royal Film Commission – Jordan
on Training and Mentorship Initiative for Filmmakers in Jordan
Focused on Highlighting Women’s Lives through Storytelling


The US Embassy in Jordan-funded project will be formally announced at a panel discussion about Arab Women Storytellers on May 23
at the Cannes Film Festival



NEW YORK, NY – 22 May 2023 – New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) and the Royal Film Commission – Jordan (RFC) are pleased to announce “Hakayaha: Stories of Women in Jordan”, a new initiative to inspire, educate, and expand creative boundaries, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Jordan. The project aims to train and mentor aspiring female filmmakers from across Jordan, and to fund, develop and produce serialized work in the form of docu-series and narrative series. The initiative includes all aspects of creating serialized work: development, writing, production and post-production. The guiding principle of the work is the creative vision of filmmakers in Jordan that transcends boundaries, unites our shared humanity and explores the richness of Jordanian culture.   

“Hakayaha: Stories of Women in Jordan” will include filmmaker labs that will run for two years through which, 30 filmmakers from across Jordan will be selected to develop, and produce a docu-series and narrative series to be exhibited via local screening in Jordan.  Selected filmmakers will be mentored by an award-winning team of NYWIFT directors, producers and writers on a mission to develop, train, and inspire the next generation of filmmakers in Jordan. 

NYWIFT believes in the power of media to influence, educate, and elevate women’s voices in all its dimensions and is dedicated to a cross-cultural collaboration with The Royal Film Commission – Jordan. This joint vision will foster the next generation of filmmakers, encouraging diversity, creativity and freedom of expression.

The program is funded by the United States Embassy in Jordan.


Cynthia Lopez (CEO, NYWIFT) & Mira Nimri (RFC – Jordan) signed the agreement for our two-year mentorship & training program for women filmmakers.


“Hakayaha: Stories of Women in Jordan” will be formally announced at a panel discussion hosted by NYWIFT, RFC Jordan, and the recently launched Women in Film and Television GCC (WIFT GCC) on Tuesday, May 23 at 11 AM at Plage Ondine. The panel discussion, “Women Storytellers from the Arab World – Supporting, Training and Showcasing Emerging Filmmakers”, will highlight women storytellers from the Arab world, and will feature NYWIFT CEO Cynthia López; representative from RFC Jordan Mira Nimri; Rula Nasser (The Imaginarium Films); President of Women in Film GCC Nancy Paton; Venice Film Festival Curator Alessandra Speciale; filmmakers Sofia Djama, award winning director of film, The Beloved, and Sonia Ben Slama director of Machtat, presented in the ACID Cannes 2023 program; and will be moderated by Deadline Senior International Film Correspondent Melanie Goodfellow.

NYWIFT and RFC Jordan will sign the Memorandum of Understanding: Joint Creative Guiding Principles for “Hakayaha: Stories of Women in Jordan” during a private lunch immediately following the panel discussion. The panel and lunch are organized by NYWIFT Board Member Joyce Pierpoline.

“New York Women in Film & Television is thrilled to expand our international reach through our partnership with The Royal Film Commission – Jordan, bringing unique support and training opportunities for filmmakers in the Middle East. And what better venue to announce such a program than on the beautiful international melting pot of Cannes? We are grateful for the commitment and dedication of the RFC’s staff to filmmakers, and to the US Embassy in Jordan for their instrumental support. And thank you to our friends at WIFT GCC for their support of our program at Cannes,” said NYWIFT CEO Cynthia López. “We also wish to thank NYWIFT Board Member Yvonne Russo, who had as a primary goal for NYWIFT to work more globally during the pandemic and ignited the collaboration between NYWIFT and the RFC.”

“As the world becomes more connected through the power of film, our partnership with NYWIFT and the US Embassy in Jordan is vital in supporting the art of storytelling in Jordan. This collaboration not only reflects our shared commitment to the art of film, but also represents a powerful example of the impact that can be achieved through international collaboration. The impact of this initiative will reflect our values that align with NYWIFT in promoting and advocating for the empowerment of women through storytelling.” Mohannad Al-Bakri, RFC’s Managing Director.

“We are thrilled to be supporting this initiative in Cannes and we are committed to training and mentoring women filmmakers in the Gulf region.” WIFT GCC President Nancy Paton.

Counselor for Public Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Jordan, Stefanie Altman-Winans, highlighted the importance of advancing equality in the creative industries through creating opportunities that both advance and support emerging and established women filmmakers.

“The U.S. Embassy in Jordan remains committed in supporting Jordan’s creative industry, and in facilitating continued engagements between the U.S. and Jordan, as well as creating more opportunities to promote authentic storytelling for emerging and established filmmakers. We are honored to be part of this worthy endeavor, and look forward to joining our local filmmakers along with our friends at the Royal Film Commission and New York Women in Film & Television on this exciting journey,” Ms. Altman-Winans added.

Those attending the Cannes Film Festival can RSVP for the 23 May panel at https://www.nywift.org/event/nywift-jordan-cannes-2023/