Um Ghayeb (Mother of the Unborn)
Egypt, United Arab Emirates
Producer: Maartje Alders
Production Company: Hassala Films
Hanan still does not have children. Therefore people labeled her with the name ‘Um Ghayeb’ (Mother of the Unborn). In the forgotten region of Upper Egypt women like Hanan are usually stigmatized, treated as a bad omen and sometimes forced to perform old fertility rituals rooted in their culture to conceive the awaited child. The absolute truth lies in the notions of life and death...fertility indeed is the miracle of creation. But does it bring happiness, or is it just an illusion? And can we really determine our own destiny? An intimate dialogue unfolds between the filmmaker and Hanan, as they both face the same questions about being a women and motherhood.
The story lingers further and further into the maze of hidden thoughts and fabulous beliefs, contrasted with the tough but also humorous and modern realities of everyday life of some people, somewhere in the world....
Nadine Salib was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1984 and later graduated from film school in 2006. She started her career as an assistant director in commercials, after which she entered the independent field in 2009. She worked as a first assistant and script supervisor in many short and feature films that were screened in many national and international film festivals. In 2011 she directed her first short documentary ‘Fagr’ or ‘Dawn’, which was shown around the world and won the second prize in the Arab Women Filmmakers Competition in the Baghdad International Film Festival and the 1st prize in the 12th Goethe Independent Film Festival in Cairo. ‘Um el Ghayeb’ is her first feature documentary.