In Tunisia, months after the revolution, a strong sisterhood bond threatens to break when the impetuous, younger sister runs away to Syria to join ISIS and the more responsible, older sister makes a perilous journey there to try and convince her to come home.

  • Amie Williams
    Jua Kali, We Are Wisconsin, No Sweat, Stripped and Teased
  • Charlotte Uzu
    Fuocommare, El Valedor, Cerro Bayo, The Look
  • Habib Attia
    Beauty and the Dogs
  • Bridget Pickering
    Hotel Rwanda, Dreamworld
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Voyage de L'Hiver et de L'été
  • Project Type:
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
    Arabic, English, French
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Film Independent Directors Lab
    Los Angeles, CA
    April 1, 2012
    for JUA KALI
  • Sundance Screenwriting Lab
    Sundance, Utah
    November 12, 2018
  • Women In Film Writers Lab
    New York
    April 1, 2017
  • Screencraft Film Fund
    Los Angeles, CA
    November 1, 2018
  • Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition
    Austin, TX
    December 28, 2018
    Second Rounder
  • San Francisco Independent Film Festival
    San Francisco, CA
    December 28, 2018
Writer Biography - Amie Williams

Amie founded her own film/video production company, BALMAIDEN FILMS (Gaelic for women who worked in the mines), in 1991, at the dawn of the digital revolution, when the entire landscape of filmmaking was shifting. A renowned American feminist/activist filmmaker and journalist, Amie is never content to stay put when there is a rally, protest, election, or uprising to follow. Since 1998, she has been excavating stories from Siberia to Soweto, Tokyo to Nairobi, crossing borders, building bridges and pushing boundaries, as well as her art to activate dialogue and debate. Her work has broadcast on PBS, Al Jazeera, BBC, Current TV and CBC Canada. Her feature documentary films include UNCOMMON GROUND, FALLON, NV: DEADLY OASIS, STRIPPED AND TEASED, ONE DAY LONGER, NO SWEAT, and most recently, WE ARE WISCONSIN, a film about the citizen uprising against anti-worker legislation, recently nominated for an International Documentary Association Award and featured on Moveon.org, “This film will be the record people will refer to a hundred years from now when they study this era of greed. ” said Michael Moore, who hosted her his Traverse City Film Festival in 2012.

In 2010, Amie co-founded the non-profit, GLOBALGIRL MEDIA, which develops the voice and media literacy of young women by teaching them to create and share digital journalism designed to improve scholastic achievement, ignite community activism and spark social change. Currently, she is the Executive Director, managing projects in South Africa, Morocco, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Tunisia and Oakland, California.

Through this work Amie was asked to blog for Huffungton Post, and has written as a freelance journalist, most recently for Moveon.org and TruthDig. She also gave a Tedx TALK on women in media in Barcelona in 2015: Amie also works as a freelance producer/director for Al Jazeera English and produces short documentaries, PSA’s, and political ads for a variety of clients, organizations, NGO’s, etc.

Amie's films have won numerous awards, such as the International Documentary Association Award, Top Ten Audience Aweard at Hot Docs, a National Endowment for the Arts Media Grant, the SONY/Streisand Award for emerging female filmmakers, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation International Peace Grant. In 2010 she was selected to tour the world by the America Film Institute /U.S. State Department, partnering with other filmmakers in the inaugural 20/20 Cultural Exchange Program (now run by the Sundance Institute and State Department). Amie is also in development for her first narrative feature, A JOURNEY OF WINTER AND SUMMER, a story of two sisters from Tunisia, one of whom runs away to join ISIS (in development with the Tunisian/Paris Company) CineteleFilms.

Amie’s first feature screenplay, JUA KALI (Harsh Sun), was based on her three years working as a secondary-school teacher in rural Kenya in the late 19990’s at the dawn of the African AIDS crisis. The story concerns a young female AIDS orphan who overcomes incredible odds to become a journalist. The script was selected for the 2007 FILM INDEPENDENT Director’s Lab, where Amie worked with Producer Tracey Bing (March of the Penguins), and workshopped with Director Raul Peck (Sometimes in April, Lumumba). She directed two scenes for the lab with actors Edi Gathegi (House, Gone Baby Gone, Twilight) and Idris Elba (The Wire…) The project was selected for the IFP/No Borders Screenplay market and was one of five finalists out of 500 in the Ultimate Filmmakers Competition, 2010; however the project never received sufficient financing to go into production.

Amie has consulted for Film Independent (FIND), Latino Public Broadcasting, and Co-founded and Artistically Directed the first international film festival in Las Vegas, CINEVEGAS in 1998, which was then taken over by Trevor Groth of Sundance. She presently teaches as an adjunct professor part-time at San Francisco State, School of Cinema.

Amie graduated from Yale University (B.A., English and Theater, 1985); and U.C.L.A (MFA, Film, 1992).


When newly elected Rep. Governor Scott Walker introduces a bill that threatens to wipe away worker rights, thousands of people protest at the State Capitol and occupy the building for 26 days. This film follows six ordinary citizens and how the event transforms their lives. Nominated for an IDA Award, Top Ten Audience Award, Hot Docs, Toronto, “This film will be what people refer to one hundred years from now when they study this era of greed” --Michael Moore, filmmaker. www.wearewisconsinthefilm.com

Young activist Viridiana Martinez from North Carolina advocates for the “Dream Act” a controversial immigrant rights bill which would allow undocumented students to attend university and remain in the US, seeking a pathyway to citizenship. Produced for Al Jazeera ACTIVATE series, 2011.

Profile of a young female Iraqi War vet who is struggling with PTSD and a dishonorable discharge from the US Marines after two tours to Iraq. Produced for Al Jazeera WITNESS series, 2011.

Looks at the dying art of free-driving in the small fishing village of Shirahama, Japan, following a remarkable group of seven women “Ama,” all over the age of 60, risking their lives and livelihood in pursuit of a more balanced life and ocean Winner: ShootingPeople short of the month, Best Short, Bird’s Eye View Film Festival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ3c5gLUVms

Profile of Tebogo Tsotetsi, a young South African girl, and the imact that the 2010 FIFA World Cup had on her, as she participates in Global Girl Media, a US-based journalism training program that helps her cover the World Cup as a rookie journalist. Produced for Al Jazeera WITNESS series, 2010.

Documentary on the Arapaho Nation and their new immersion language program, introduced on the Wind River Reservation in 2008. Produced for tWITNESS Documentary Series Al Jazeera English, 2008.

Feature documentary on two sweatshop-free T-shirt factories in downtown Los Angeles, SweatX and American Apparel. Produced in association with KQED San Francisco, for the Truly CA documentary series, broadcast in Spring, 2006; Premiered at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles, November, 2006. Selected for world tour sponsored by NEA and President’s Committee on the Arts, 2007, in celebration of AFI’s 25th anniversary.

Feature documentary on a childhood leukemia cluster in small town Nevada. Awarded the Independent Television Service (ITVS) Lincs Grant for 2001. Co-production with KLVX, Channel 10 in Las Vegas. Broadcast on various public television stations, Spring/Summer, 2004

Feature documentary (film/video) on the longest running strike in recent US history against the Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Features interviews with America's top labor leaders, including Cesar Chavez and Jesse Jackson. Commissioned by the Hotel and Restaurant Workers International Union (HEREIU), premiered at the National AFL-CIO Convention, 1999. Won the Paul Robeson Award, Newark Black Museum, 2000.

Feature documentary on the reality of women and women’s work in Las Vegas. Profiles of female labor union leaders, casino owners, poker players, showgirls and strippers. Winner: Gold Apple, National Educational Media Network, Top Ten in Booklist, 1999; "Pick of the Week" Los Angeles Times, "Fascinating and Consciousness-raising"--LA Weekly. Distributed by Cinema Guild, theatrical release, New York and Los Angeles, 1999.

Feature documentary, on race and identity through the eyes of multicultural youth in Los Angeles and South Africa. Winner-IDA David Wolper Award, Emerging Vision Award, Atlanta Festival, Golden Apple, National Educational Film and Video Festival, San Jose JOEY Award, USA Film Festival, and numerous festivals throughout the world. Distributed by New Day Films, 1995.

Playmaker Award, SF Superbowl 50 Committee, for GlobalGirl Media
Ruby female Leadership Award, Soroptimists, 2013
Top Ten Audience Award, WE ARE WISCONSIN, Hot Docs Festival, 2013
IDA/ABC News Nominee, International Doc. Association, WE ARE WISCONSIN
Best Documentary, Tehran International Film Festival, WE ARE WISCONSIN
Selected Participant in NALIP Screenwriter’s Workshop, April, 2009
American Film Institute/ US Pres. Comm. on the Arts 20/20 World Tour for NO SWEAT, 2006
Film Independent Director’s Lab Participant, JUA KALI, 2008
IFP NO BORDERS Script Market for JUA KALI, 2008
National Endowment for the Arts Media Grant for VIEW FROM A GRAIN OF SAND, 2002
National Endowment for the Arts, Nevada Travel Grant, Japan Tour, 1999
Slamdance On The Road Tour for STRIPPED AND TEASED, 2000
Women's Film Fund, Paul Robeson Grant, New York, 1996
International Documentary Association, (IDA) Wolper Award for UNCOMMON GROUND, 1994
SONY/Streisand Award for Emerging Women Directors, 1993
Eastman Kodak Product Grant Award for UNCOMMON GROUND, 1993
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Peace Award for UNCOMMON GROUND 1991.
American Film Institute, Indie Film and Videomaker’s Award, UNCOMMON GROUND, 1993
Motion Picture Association Award--UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.
Director's Guild of America, Film School Screening Award, 1992.

M.F.A. U.C.L.A., Film Production, School of Theater, Film and Television, 1992. M.A. U.C.L.A. African Area Studies & Anthropology, 1990. B.A. Yale University, English and Theater Arts, cum laude, 1985

Professional Affiliations: AAUW, IATSE 660, Association of Women Directors, Women in Film.

Add Writer Biography
Writer Statement

I’m a professional documentary filmmaker and journalist with a passion for telling stories from the margins. Armed with little more than a camera and backpack, I’ve traveled the world inspired by legions of women, workers, immigrants, refugees and outliers, always looking for the untold story.

I had been reading about young women from Europe who were radicalized and travelling to Syria to join Jihadi husbands, but I was confused by the reports. They seemed simplistic, contradictory and ultimately sensational. I wondered, who were these young women, really? What motivated them to leave their families and countries and make a perilous journey into a quasi-state that openly declared a retrograde attitude towards women?

Also as a Western woman working in non-Western and Muslim countries, I am interested in the range of women’s interpretations of Islam, and have been trying to address the inaccuracy, misrepresentation and absence of these kinds of stories.

In 2009 I was invited to Tunisia by the American Film Institute’s 20/20 inaugural program to show one of my documentary films and met a vibrant artistic and filmmaking community there, which has really been blossoming after the Arab Spring. I also learned that Tunisia leads the Arab world in establishing constitutional protection for women’s rights, but since the Revolution the economic and political situation has deteriorated, and Tunisia now has the highest number of young people leaving for Syria to join ISIS and other jihadi groups, over 10,000.

“A Journey of Winter and Summer,” is a quote from the Qu’ran, referring to the exodus of a certain tribe from a region where they were persecuted. It’s a true story of two Tunisian sisters, Amina and Kenza, initially with two very different attitudes towards Islam. It was important for me in the writing of the script to focus very clearly on their relationship, and to explore this very special kind of love, the love between two sisters.
While I am using a gender lens to explore war, terrorism and specific current events, this is really the backdrop. I am also really trying to break open a discussion about a woman’s yearning for power, and what is female power? How do we get it, feel it, keep it?
In many ways the two sisters represent two opposites, between which an existential struggle occurs, a struggle that is for me a universal female phenomenon: the struggle between personal freedom and belonging—between fierce independence and family/community. As a single mother of a teen-age son, I am also curious about this deep sense of disillusionment and abandonment young people are feeling worldwide. Humiliation and lack of hope are lethal fodder for violence, the more they feel alienated, the more they are going to be attracted to extreme forms of allegiance.
Good films for me are reservoirs of meaning, and their complexity is the reason for their success: they retain an endless potential for reinterpretation. I want my film to be more of a question than a conclusion.
I look forward to bringing this powerful and true story to a global audience.