One of the most exciting contemporary Arab filmmakers is Amr Salama – one of the few male filmmaker in the Arab Women Behind the Camera programme. Asma’a touches on a subject that is highly controversial in the Arab world: HIV infection. Salama’s portrait of a woman with AIDS shows how a stigmatized person can still hold her own in her community. The Tunisian actress Hend Sabry plays the lead role.
Asma’a, the mother of a daughter, refuses to be victimized by the fatal disease she carries and decides to confront the prejudices of an ignorant community. She is determined to be cured and tries to instil sparks of hope in other AIDS sufferers. Meanwhile a TV director is trying to persuade Asma’a to go public with her story, but she hesitates. Under no condition will she reveal how she became infected.
Asma’a is the second feature film by the Saudi-Arabian filmmaker Amr Salama (1982), who previously produced a documentary on AIDS for the UN. His challenging choice of topic received awards for Best Director from the Arab World and Best Actor at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
Although the film was released in theatres in Egypt, it has not yet been screened on TV. According to Salama, TV screening is vital to have an impact on society. The majority of the Egyptian population can’t afford to go to the cinema, but does watch television.
Salama also co-directed the award-winning documentary Tahrir 2011: The Good, The Bad, and The Politician.
actress Hend Sabry will be present during the screening on the 8th of June.