Ward No. 3
Producer: Aida Elkashef
Production Company: Ganoub Film
Five different women from five different backgrounds have all committed the same crime. Samah, Bushra, Hanaa, Samia, and Doaa have all killed their husbands, some of these crimes were premeditated, and some were not. However, the result was the same: Years of pent up anger and a lifetime in prison. Most of the film takes place in Ward No. 3 (Al-Qanater women’s prison’s ward for murderers), following and talking to 4 women who killed their husbands, three of which are serving a life sentence and one on death row. The fifth character also killed her husband and was sentenced to a life in prison; however, she got out 15 years later on good behavior. Each woman’s story exposes different entities that have let them down, whether it is the judiciary system, the church, Al Azhar or simply society. Our five lead women tell their stories from the moment they killed their husbands: the time, the place and the weapon, going all the way back to their childhood and marriage. Filming in the confined walls of ward no. 3 with the characters knowing that this might be their last chance to get their stories out creates a tension that will be reflected in the film. We (the film crew and the characters imprisoned) are restricted by the space and circumstances that lead them here. However, filming Bushra, the recently released charterer, as she tries to regain her life and leads us through it offers a unique perspective on a rare chance of a woman from ward no.3 having a life beyond prison and regaining control of her story. This contrast weaves the story together and helps place it in the bigger context of society.
Aida El-Kashef is an independent film director and producer based in Cairo. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Ganoub Film for production and distribution. As a director, her first short film, Rhapsody in Autumn, her graduation project from her alma mater the High Cinema Institute in Cairo, received the Dubai Muhr Silver Award. The films also received several other international awards. She has since then directed and produced A Tin Tale, a short fiction based on a true story of a young Egyptian sex-worker, that was premiered in the Dubai International Film festival in 2011. She has also worked on several other productions for different directors as "Journalism Passage" by Basel Ramsis. El-Kashef has been active in several political campaigns during the Egyptian revolution, including Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault and No Military Trials of Civilians. She is also a co-founder of the Cairo-based, independent media collective Mosireen.