International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Film director wins ILO prize for gender based violence documentary

The winning short film touches on fundamental gender and child rights’ issues addressed by the International Labour Organization.

Press release | 25 November 2020
CAIRO (ILO News) – Egyptian film director Loai Galal, has won an ILO award at the Shasha Mobile Film Festival for his short film Message to my Dad, which tells the story of a young woman who is a victim of gender based violence.

The seven-minute film, shot entirely on a mobile phone, won first prize in a special short film category sponsored by the ILO. It touches upon many fundamental ILO issues such as child labour, child marriage, violence against girls and women and stolen childhood.

It was selected by a panel from the ILO’s Communication and Public Information Department, and judged on a variety of criteria including storytelling, creativity and engagement.

Galal said that the idea for the film came from his belief that the main challenge to gender equality is the behaviour and attitudes of men.

“She is not a commodity and a bad decision is enough to ruin a human life. It is a real story I sympathized with during my research,” he said.

Martin Murphy, ILO Director of Communications and Public Information, described the film as a very moving portrait.

“The film is well produced and creative in its approach to these issues. Gender equality and combating the worst forms of child labour are key elements in reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are main cross-cutting policy drivers for all ILO policy outcomes,” Murphy said.

ILO Cairo Director, Eric Oechslin presented Galal with the award at a ceremony held at the organization’s office in Cairo, days ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November.

Speaking at the ceremony, Oechslin said, “We extend our congratulations to the winner, who confirms the importance of gender equality and women’s right at all ages including for adolescent girls. They have the right to health, education and protection from abuse and harm. Early marriage, child labour and other forced measures at young ages will result in low education, psychological issues and vulnerable and insecure jobs for tomorrow’s women.”

The Shasha mobile film festival awards a range of prizes in a number of categories for films shot on mobile phones. In total, it received more than 3500 submissions from film-makers from 90 countries.

“We all believe in the mobile cinema culture as it provides the space for young talents to be exposed and acknowledged through the film industry scene,” said the Shasha management team.