Monday, August 1, 2011

Member Spotlight: Sharine Mohamed, filmmaker, announces fundraising campaign for "I am not Virgin" film teaser

International Women Artists' Salon is honored to support filmmaker member Sharine Mohamed's fund-raising campaign for her 'I am not Virgin' film teaser.  We invite you to learn about her film project and support her effort in any way.  She will hold a fundraiser event August 3rd in conjunction with an IndieGoGo online fund-raising campaign through November 18th, 2011.

Sharine invites you to join her Wednesday, August 3rd, 7pm through the evening.  Enjoy an Egyptian Homemade Dinner. Drink Mediterranean Fig Flavored Vodka. See the Live Monologues. Win Raffle Prizes. All monies raised will be used for I am not VIRGIN's five minute film teaser.
Please see event details at these two links and to reserve your ticket (please reserve by August 1st ,or contact Heidi Russell or Sharine if interested and past reservation deadline).
F I L M    D I R E C T O R
I am not Virgin Movie. INC


Note from the Filmmaker:
I love filmmaking. I am obsessed. I just want to be on set all day, all night, directing. I really believe that I was born in this life just to make movies. I come from an art background, and love colors, lighting, scenes; the beauty of the creative process obsesses me! But aside from that, throughout my life, I have always thought critically, and fought against what I felt was wrong. Due to activism DNA in me, what better idea could I have than to mix both my passions?

My mission as an Egyptian filmmaker is to be a voice for women on women’s issues in my country, Egypt where it can be an example to all other countries. As an American, my mission as a filmmaker is to show how even here in America we can still find social conflict, and that in the end, a city is only a city and becomes labeled by its people.  Hopefully my films can beautifully and artistically emphasize fundamental human rights on a global level, and to be a bridge to link different cultures so that it would broaden and highlight the similarities that unite us as a people on this one same planet that we all share.
The Project: Stage in Development: 

Log Line: Egyptian feature film based on true events about victimized women accused of not being virgins. The double standards between women and men on the topic of virginity and hymen restoration procedures with a backdrop of the current revolution in Egypt and the outcome of vile acts towards women involving their virginity while protesting. 

Why this Topic?
The topic is important because it’s a twisted old fashion tradition. It’s dreadful and serious, painful, astonishing, unfair and brutal. These atrocities are still happening to women, women I personally knew and still know till this day, my friends, family, even myself and it needs to end.

What is virginity? What does it mean to be a virgin? Does the hymen need to be intact? What is the significance of a hymen in terms of biological, traditional, physical? How many types of hymens are there? Religious people have one answer, while doctors have another, different from what some Egyptian men think, different from what Egyptian women think even amongst other Egyptian women, different from what non-Egyptian men and women think… 

How sad is it to know that a father would let his daughter die rather than permit her to have necessary cervical surgery, believing that she would no longer be a virgin and therefore not die with honor. 

How crazy is it to know that after seven years of a loving marriage, the wife is divorced because the husband suspects she was never a virgin after she gifts him with a hymen restoration procedure on their seventh wedding anniversary.
How sad is it to know that most women end up marrying their rapist, since the rapist has the luxury to choose between being in prison for a few months or marrying the victim in order to not press charges against him thereby preserving her and her family’s’ honor. 

How strange is it to learn that some women, between the ages of twenty and forty, are so depressed that they refuse to engage in sexual intercourse with their husbands because of fear and paranoia. 

How sad is it for a woman to be accused of not being a virgin, brutally threatened, mentally and physically abused, all because she did not bleed? 

A young woman Azraa (popular Egyptian name meaning Virgin), in her early 20s, admitted by the lead scholarship to study Psychology, Western Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, and the Arts at the AUC: American University in Cairo. Although she is obedient at home amongst her parents (in a slum like area called Boolak in Cairo) and abides by the Eastern traditional ways, she has a Westernized and unaccepted (by Egyptian Society standards) lifestyle when away from home; and even though she wishes to be accepted, she has a dreadful fear and expresses her desperate desire to never reveal her secret “but preferred” life-style to her parents. An American professor at AUC makes an announcement in class about a study-abroad contest, where the student contestants are assigned to research a conflicted cultural topic to win a sponsored trip to New York City and attend The International Cultural Convention at the UN where the student will represent Egypt with a public speech on the researched topic. Azraa is interested and applies. However, Ahmed, Azraas’ jealous, controlling boyfriend threatens to tell her family that she is not a virgin unless she drops the assignment and stops spending so much time with the American Professor. After seeing Ahmed’s true colors, she decides to end the relationship. She is heartbroken and crushed with confusions, fears and regrets. Azraa is drenched in fear and decides to go to one of those illegal clinics to find a cosmetic surgeon to stitch her hymen. Azraa cannot afford the procedure but begs the doctor to work in exchange and he agrees. During her working hours she shares chats with a few women who attend the clinic and learns so much about virginity and all matters involved. She takes an interest in the subject and starts to research the topic for the AUC competition assignment. The relationship with her professor becomes deeper as they work together, and although its platonic, students and faculty see them together often, start to gossip and assume it’s more. Ahmed, her ex-boyfriend, continues to follow her and harass her with his threats. Meanwhile, her parents are aware it’s her last year in college and they keep telling her about potential husbands who are visiting to propose, but she avoids them by creating excuses to not show up, and her parents start to suspect something is wrong. Political turmoil results in new uprising and protests start to take place in Tahrir square. Azraa joins one morning after seeing a group of women shouting for freedom and democracy. Masses of people are protesting to get rid of the President. She and a few other women get arrested by the authorities and are forced to undergo virginity examinations. As her family finds out and her ex-boyfriend confirms this news by spreading rumors in the town where she lives, Azraa is brutally beaten by her brother and father, her family disowns her, and she is a popular subject for gossip, exaggerative rumors and an outcast in her neighborhood. After rejections from family members and friends for a place to stay, she can think of no one to go to but the American Professor. He takes her in and tries to encourage her to finish the research she’s started, but she is too hurt, depressed and distracted as everything else in her life falling apart. Rumors from faculty and students intensify. After a long time of almost giving up, she than realizes it’s all she has left. After seeing people who die to free Egypt, Azraa realizes the importance of voice and insists on struggling against all odds to achieve her only serious desire to win the contest. She presents her project proposal to the dean and wins. The film ends with Azraa in New York City at the International Cultural Convention. She starts the long public speech revealing her entire research on the virginity issue with women in Egypt. The crowd comes to tears, laughs, and claps. 

What is Needed:
Right now I am working on producing a 5 minute teaser and have 4 months between Aug 15th and December 15th for Pre-production and Production in Cairo then post here in New York once I get back December 15th. In general I probably need to raise about $150,000.00 or above only for development and still figuring it out. Some examples for why I need this amount... 

1-      5 min Teaser ($50 thousand) Deadline December15th
2-      Website
3-      Script
4-      Logo & other stationeries
5-      Critiquing and proof reading
6-      Entertainment Lawyer/ drafting Contracts and Agreements
7-      Casting
8-      Locations & Permits 

The list goes on, but this was just to give you an idea… What I am really focusing on now is producing the 5 minute teaser. I have been working on research in Cairo for the past year, attending film festivals to network and working on the development. I just registered the project as an S-corporation, and all of this preliminary work is expensive, so I need support.
For any questions please email me at
Thank you!
F I L M    D I R E C T O R
I am not Virgin Movie. INC

+1 917 703 8244  USA
+2 019 718 1 718  EGYPT
+33 6 197479 23  FRANCE 
About the Director:
New York and Cairo based emerging filmmaker Sharine Mohamed intends to create fictional films based on true stories about issues that women face, relationships, cultural clashes, and social stigmas. The daughter of an Egyptian father and American mother, Sharine Mohamed has lived half her life in each country always feeling torn between two very different cultures and having difficulty adapting to both and being accepted in each. Currently, she shifts between living in New York and Cairo and tries to mix the best from both cities which mold her to be who she is today no matter where she goes.

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