What is WOW Middle East?

Presented by Straight Street Media, UAE
The World of Women’s Cinema - WOW Film Fair Middle East is the first women’s short film fair that promotes and awards the talents of women directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers in the film industry internationally. It is an event that offers emerging and established filmmakers the opportunity to screen short works giving a thematic perspective of ... “seeing the world through the eyes of women”. Created by Women in Film and Television NSW, this is the first of its kind event in the Arab world. Committed to improving the status of women, both on and off the screen, the event aims to support and advance women working in film, TV and other related screen industries.

WOW is a unique showcase of films by women or about women, allowing for a different storytelling and giving another perspective of the world through women's eyes. Aiming to be a festival of discovery, celebration, debate, networking and an inspiration for new work – the event is a non profit project presented by Straight Street Media, a Dubai based company committed to improving the status of women, both on and off the screen, by supporting and advancing women working in the film, television and related screen industries.

The 10th WOW (World of Women) Film Fair 2025 is now calling for entries for women who are high achievers across various fields.

If you know of a special woman who you believe should be recognised for her exceptional work towards advancing women in the Arab world or in film, please send a brief email to wowmiddleeast@gmail.com along with their full name, age, nationality and reason why they deserve to win. Entries are welcomed from any sector of society.

Awards include:
Humanitarian of the Year
Business Leader of the Year
Personality of the Year
Sports leader of the Year
Rising talent Leader of the Year (2 Filmmaking Awards)

2025 Open call for film submissions

DEADLINE: December 30th, 2024


COMPLETION DATE‭: ‬Films of any completion date are‭ ‬eligible for submission‭. ‬WOW Film Fair does not have any premiere requirements‭. ‬However‭, ‬the festival does take previous screenings and broadcasts into consideration when making its official selections‭, ‬particularly when films have already screened in the GCC.

LANGUAGE‭: ‬DVD preview screeners and exhibition prints must either be in English or have English subtitles‭.‬

EXHIBITION FORMATS‭: ‬You must have one of the following formats available ‬if accepted‭, ‬for screening at the‭ ‬festival‭. ‬
HIGH DEFINITION‭ - ‬35mm‭, ‬Blu-Ray‭, ‬or Quicktime‭ (.‬mov‭) ‬file‭. ‬
STANDARD DEFINITION‭ - ‬DVD or Quicktime‭ (.‬mov‭) ‬file‭. ‬
FilmFreeway digital file Mp4

FESTIVAL NOTIFICATION‭: ‬All notifications will be sent by FF email system or via phone to the contact listed on the entry form by Jan 30th, 2024‭.‬‭ ‬You are responsible for updating WOW Film Fair directly regarding any change to your contact information and ensuring that emails from‭ info@straightstreetmedia.ae are not blocked by spam filters‭. No screening fees will be paid to any film makers featured in the festival. It is your responsibility to ensure that download access is available on FF.

WINNERS: All shortlisted films will be notified via the FF system, however only the semi-finalists and winners will be played during the festival. Winners must collect their awards and prizes within one month after the festival. Failure to do so will result in the award or prize being donated to charity.

SUBMISSION FORMAT‭: WOW Film Fair requires ONE‭ (‬1‭) ‬DVD or digital file for review‭. ‬Include the film title‭, ‬running time‭, ‬and format‭ on your disc‭. ‬Quicktime‭ (.‬mov‭) ‬files are also acceptable for entry on a USB device or data disc‭ (‬DVD‭, ‬CD‭, ‬or Blu-Ray‭). ‬Submission materials will NOT be returned‭. ‬

VALUES AND CONDUCT: The WOW Film Fair program is a non-profit program that is shariah complaint. Any disrespectful content, emails, messages or posts will lead to immediate disqualification of your entry.

Overall Rating
  • I am Duishenklova Guzel, a film director from Kyrgyzstan. Many thanks to the organizers of this wonderful festival! My film "Bride stone" won a prize! I am very very happy! Keep spreading joy!

    March 2023
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks Guzel and congrats on your film! We wish you and your team all the best!

  • So honored that our film Hold the Ball was selected! Thank you to the incredible team at WOW! Excellent communication! Great quality! Great value!
    Looking forward to next year’s film festival. Shoutout to festival leader Hermoine for all your help!

    March 2023
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    Response from festival:

    Toda Yocheved for the kind words! Your film was a favorite at our recent short screening event on March 8th in Abu Dhabi and you are always welcome to come for any screening! Stay tuned for more screening dates and times in 2023 alongside our other WOW winners!

  • Haya Alghanim

    I found out I was selected to this festival through an Instagram post. The post included a poster of my film as the special screening, with multiple unrelated accounts tagged. When I messaged the festival on Instagram requesting they remove tags I was unfamiliar with and seemed irrelevant to the post of my film, I was met with aggression, disrespect, and insults.

    The person who runs the Instagram account, from the Media & PR team refused to communicate or discuss the subject they disagreed on with respect and continued to trigger and insult me throughout multiple messages, labeling my requests as demands, and calling my words "vomit", going as far as to say "no wonder it's so hard to get funding for women in film" when they are an organization that supposedly supports women. It was in these messages that I decided to pull my film from the festival.

    When I reached out to the founder to share the interaction, she did not take accountability and sided with her staff member, even when seeing the proof of messaging and language I received. I mentioned that I was willing to revert my decision if she was willing to damage control, but she disagreed with my reaction and told me to reconsider, without trying to amend the situation. My conversation with the founder, although respectful, did not make me feel valued or safe as a filmmaker participating in her festival, since there was no effort to protect me from the Media & PR person who showed animosity towards me, which confirmed my decision to pull the film.

    I have reported the situation and shared all the communication between the festival account and the founder with FilmFreeway, and want to share my experience publicly to protect other filmmakers from being disrespected and mistreated by this festival. This festival should not be supported and should be held accountable for how they communicate with filmmakers.

    March 2023
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    Response from festival:

    Dear Haya – I thought I would respond to this personally as I find your feedback here to be so arrogant and rude, especially after I personally reached out to you to mediate and find out your side of the story. As discussed with you privately, we do not tolerate any abuse, rude or demanding behavior towards our company and our staff in any shape or form and any such conduct leads to immediate disqualification as per our rules of entry. I do stand by my staff and would never "punish them" for speaking the truth even if it hurts you.

    I actually tried to mediate with you and did not want to disqualify your film as it was one of my faves, however considering your response now you leave me with no choice as you clearly do not respect our rules and code of conduct.

    Also, just to reiterate what I already told you via message again here so others are not confused by your arrogance and false statements against my team – your poster was selected for the post on social media as 'the poster of choice' for the selection of short films to be played at one of our special screenings. Everyone tagged in the post alongside you were either supporters, sponsors or other filmmakers IN the screening that is mentioned in the post. As mentioned to you by my staff and myself several times, the screening and post is NOT just about you. Your request to not mention anyone else or include them is disgraceful and clearly shows you have no respect for other colleagues and talent in this festival.

    If you didn't want your poster to be featured, you could have just asked and my team would have easily replaced you with someone else who would be grateful to have the promotion.

    In all my years of running this festival I have never had such an outrageous request or response such as this. I hope you learn from this experience and make better decisions next time before taking such an approach.

    Hermoine Noble
    WOW Founder

  • Manoocher Khoshbakht

    Ich konnte leider nicht auf eurem Festival persönlich sein aber von ferne habe ich beobachtet. Danke!!!

    October 2020
  • Hala Abouchakra

    Honored to have my film selected, although didn’t get to celebrate it because of the lack of communication.

    March 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Dear Hala,

    Our records show you were sent and successfully received an official email to confirm you were selected for the festival.

    In addition to that, a public announcement was made on our instagram page stating we had to delay the festival program on March 9th, 2020 due to the Corona virus and public safety.

    Once this is lifted, we will announce a new date for the finalist screenings on FF and on instagram.

    Our website, this page and the emails we send out clearly state if you are actually 'officially selected' or a 'winner'.

    It is your responsibility to follow up and check on all announcements at every stage of the festival as it is impossible to email each and every applicant personally due to the high volumes of entries we receive every year.

    Like many other festivals, we also engage platforms like this to ensure it is run professionally and smoothly.

    Wishing you all the best on your film journey!