Inspiring an Entire Nation
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Yemeniaty in collaboration with Layalina Productions are pleased to presents an award-winning documentary Yemeniettes in a special screening at the embassy’s auditorium. Stick around after the screening for a short discussion with the film director Leon Shahabian and Yemeniaty director Sama’a Al-Hamdani for insights into the making of the film and a conversation about Yemeni society. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Shahabian and Al-Hamdani and will be moderated by a special guest.
The film Yemeniettes (2012) will make you cry, laugh and be inspired in a story of human resilience and overcoming diversity. Yemeniettes follows three underprivileged teenage Yemeni girls as they go on a journey defying social barriers, reaching national stardom and regional recognition. The movie will explore the lives of these girls and the potential that they have considering the limited life options before them. The overall narrative holds a general message on gender equality, women’s participation in society and youth empowerment.
Make sure to get your ticket here:
*YOU MUST RSVP ON EVENTBRITE & PRESENT A VALID PHOTO ID at the entrance, guests will NOT be permitted into the embassy’s premises without one*
About The Film:
Yemeniettes was produced as a two-episode Arabic language mini-series to broadcast in Yemen. It was subsequently re-edited as an English language feature documentary. The series, which was partially funded by the department of state, held its world broadcast premiere in Yemen on Al-Saeedah TV in September 2014. Yemeniettes is directed by Shawn Thompson and is created, written and executive produced by Leon Shahabian.
It’s homework time, but the lights are out yet again in Yemen’s capital of Sana’a. Three girls, determined to get an education, decided enough is enough. Armed with an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of creativity, they find a solution to their study woes and address their country’s weak economy and fledgling infrastructure in the process. Their idea? Solar powered lanterns. Set against the backdrop of a nation whose reputation includes being one of the worst places to be a woman, the poorest country in the Arab world, and a failed state, the film explores many of the drivers of Yemen’s challenges: youth unemployment, drug abuse, and a struggling education system. Even worse, conflict between Al-Qaeda and Yemen’s Houthi population threatens the girls’ very lives. In Yemeniettes, teenage girls launch a business — taking on titles like CEO and Vice President — and defy the barriers of their traditional society, proving that age and gender constraints are no match for those seeking to make the world around them a better place.
The film received the Award of Merit from The Accolade Competition, and IndieFest Film Awards honored Yemeniettes with an Award of Excellence in Contemporary Issues as well as two Awards of Merit in the categories of Documentary Feature and Viewer Impact. It also won Best Documentary at Chelsea Film Festival in October 2014 and the Best Documentary, Best Vision of the Future and Best Innovation & Entrepreneurship awards at the Silicon Valley Film Festival in December 2013. It was Official Selection to the Thin Line Film Festival in Texas, the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival and the 6th Millennium Film Festival in Belgium, the LA Femme International Film Festival, Al-Jazeera Film Festival in Doha, Qatar.
About the Director of Yemeniettes, Leon Shahabian:
Shahabian serves as President & Executive Producer of Layalina Productions, Inc. He is currently in pre-production on Confessions from the War, a feature length documentary about former violent extremists who are working to stop the Syrian War from spreading to Lebanon. Yemeniettes (2014, MBN), his multiple award-winning feature documentary on female youth entrepreneurship in Yemen, is currently on the festival circuit, along with American Caravan (2015), a reality series featuring six young Americans traveling across five Arab countries in the footsteps of the so-called Arab Spring.
Leon has executive produced the three seasons of the hit reality series On the Road in America,Season I (2007-2008, MBC1 and the Sundance Channel, distributed by Warner Brothers and New Line Television), Season II (2010, MBC1 and MBN), and Season III (2011, MBN). Mr. Shahabian has created, written and executive produced the multiple award-winning first season of Generation Entrepreneur, a youth entrepreneurship reality series (2013, Orbit Showtime Network, MBN). He also executive produced and produced Back from the Brink (2011), a feature documentary on countering violent extremism, and produced and executive produced the award-winning documentary Life After Death(2009, Al-Arabiya and MBN). His other credits include executive producing the Sister Cities documentary Windy City, White City (2004) as well as Araeh (2003).
Leon co-founded Layalina Productions in 2002 and served as its Vice President and Corporate Treasurer from 2004 through 2012. He also served from 2005 until 2011 as the Senior Editor of The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media, the Google News listed bi-weekly press review. He serves since 2008 as the Senior Editor of Perspectives, a public diplomacy op-ed series.
Mr. Shahabian is a stills photographer with photo credits from seventy leading newspapers and magazines, including the Associated Press, the New York Times, EMMY Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Boston Globe. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with degrees in International Politics and French Literature, Leon is fluent in Armenian, Arabic and French. He is a life member of The Public Diplomacy Council and a 2013 recipient of the Penn State Alumni Achievement Award.
About the founder of Yemeniaty, Sama’a Al-Hamdani:
Al-Hamdani is the founder and managing director of Yemeniaty. She is currently a fellow with the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies (SCSS). As an independent writer, researcher & analyst focusing on Yemeni politics and women’s affairs, her work has been published in various international media outlets including in Al-monitor, LawFare blog (Brookings), The National (UAE), MENAsource (The Atlantic Council Blog), Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Fikra Forum (The Middle East Institute Journal) as well as local Yemeni newspapers and several other prominent publications and academic Journals.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands
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