Private Project

Girls of a Feather

A group of elderly ladies usually go on trips together. Their sisterhood and solidarity is stunning. In the film, we see them heading towards the fishermen’s village at Elmax in Alexandria to spend the day and eat fish; the poor fishermen have nested their houses along the water cannel which runs from the river Nile to the Mediterranean sea, and have managed to earn their livelihood from fishing. There are plans to demolish the area. The film documents all the hubbub of life there, through the eyes of the elderly ladies, before it is gone forever. The elderly ladies sprinkle the place with love, joy and laughter, hence making it more beautiful and radiant. No wonder, for despite its marginalized status and its seeming poverty, the place is known as “Venice” to those who find it beautiful, and whose hearts throb with love for life.

  • Dina Abd Elsalam
  • Dina Abd Elsalam & Ashraf Mahdy
  • Thoraya Youssef, Fatma Abd Elmenem, Nemat Elnouby, Rawya Hamam, Aziza Fadel, Bata (Seham Mahmoud), Mona Abd Elaziz, Nageya Khamis, Sayeda Abd Elhady, Fayeza Elsayed
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    كان وأخواتها
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 5, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Best Documentary Award at National Festival of Egyptian Cinema 2017.
  • Best Film Award at Shnit Worldwide Short Film Festival (Playground Cairo) 2017
  • Mohamed Bayoumi Award for Best Documentary at the Alexandria International Film Festival for Mediterranean Countries 2016.
  • Cinema Syndicate Award for Best Documentary at the Alexandria International Film Festival for Mediterranean Countries 2016.
  • Semi-Finalist at ROFL Film Festival, Madrid, September 2018.
  • Finalist at Beautiful Soul Film Festival, Atlanta, USA, November, 2019.
  • Official Competition at Film Festival at Brownspoint, Tacoma, USA, 2019.
  • Official Competition at MoziMotion, Netherlands, October 2019.
  • Official Competition at KWC Film Festival, USA, April 2019.
  • Official Competition at Dadasaheb Phlake International Film Festival, Mumbai, India, 20 February 2019.
  • Official Competition at Indie Short Fest, Los Angeles, California, January 2019.
  • Official Competition at Twin Tiers International Film Festival, New York, USA, September 2018.
  • Official Competition at 11th edition of the Cairo International Women Film Festival, Cairo, 3-9 March 2018.
  • Official Competition at Senior Women’s Film Festival, Japan, 11-12 November 2017.
  • Official Selection at La Mostra de Valencia Cinema del Mediterráneo (The Mediterranean Film Festival of Valencia), Spain, 5-15 October, 2017.
  • Official Competition at Women Over Fifty Film Festival (WOFFF), England, 14-16 September 2017.
  • Official Competition at Cinema Youth Forum organized by National Cinema Centre, Egypt, 14-16 August 2017.
  • Screening at Caravan of Arab-Iberoamerican Women's Film in Oaxaca, Mexico, 25 - 29 July 2018.
  • Screening at Caravan of Cairo International Women's Film Festival, KCD (Kultura Communication and Development) NGOD, Bilbao, Spain 4 - 8 June 2018.
  • Screening at On her way: short films from Egypt (Kurzfilme aus Ägypten), Berlin, 11 Nov-16 Dec 2017.
Distribution Information
  • Dina Abd Elsalam
    Country: Egypt
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Dina Abd Elsalam

Dina Abd Elsalam is an Egyptian indie filmmaker, who managed to make all her films in her hometown Alexandria with minimal budgets. Her works neatly belong to the auteur cinema, and they are also a perfect example of DIY, for most of the time, she is the producer, writer, director, editor, and distributor of her films. Rest in Peace 2014, Girls of a Feather 2016, and Mesteka and Rehan 2017, Cream of the Crop 2021 received critical acclaim and won numerous national and international awards. She has recently launched her feature film Cream of the Crop 2021 in her hometown Alexandria and the film is already an official selection in a number of festivals and has received several awards. She is also a writer with a novel and a collection of short stories to her name. She holds a Ph.D. in Critical Theory and currently works as an associate professor at the English Department, Faculty of Arts, Alexandria University.

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Director Statement

With a tone of despair I asked myself the following questions: Why do I make films? What will I add to the film industry which already teems with big names, huge studios, and high production budgets? What is it that I can offer as an independent filmmaker with no financial resources and minimal prospects for distribution? I pondered for long and couldn’t find a “logical”, or “rational” answer, though logical and rational are human-made constructs after all. I found a sentimental one instead, which big minds would not like very much; I will sure look petty in their eyes. But I don’t really care anymore. My films might look unprofessional, or jittery at times, but if they ever managed to touch someone, move them, set them thinking, then I should go on making films. I really don’t care about the professional filmic look, high-quality cameras or expensive equipment. Why should I inflict self-torture on myself by comparing my films to high-budget ones? I have decided to shed aside all those inhibitions and insecurities. When in the margin, don’t distract yourself with things that are not meant for you, leave the mainstream for the mainstreamers, and embrace that peripheral space that allows you to express your sincere concern for humanity.