Sonia Chamki: The state must support films

Tunisian filmmaker Sonia Chamki spoke to Jet Set about the future of Tunisian cinema

Industry, Tunisia

Sonia Chamki: The state must support films

Tunisian filmmaker Sonia Chamki’s latest documentary, Militantes, portrays the many female human rights activists who ran in the parliamentary elections after the Tunisian revolution.

“Women filmmakers have existed since 1970,” she said. “The pioneering generation has now been followed by a new generation of young, passionate female graduates.” The latter are defending causes much broader than just their own rights.

Chamki is also director of the Tunisian Association of Film Directors. 

As such, she urged the National Film and Image Centre to revive film production, by rehabilitating more cinemas, and attracting national and foreign capital to be invested in the film sector. Film studies, technician training, freedom of expression, and respect for copyright are also essential to filmmaking in Tunisia, she said.

The state needs to continue playing a role in the sector: “Culture is first and foremost a political and social project, before it becomes a reflection of a creator’s preoccupations. This is particularly true for the Tunisian film sector [...] In the absence of a market so that private investors can take it over […] it’s only with this initial investment from the state that we can hope to reassure investors enough to take over from public funding.”

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