Press Release

UNFPA to promote storylines related to public health in partnership with CIFF

21 November 2018

UNFPA is partnering with the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) to inspire and advocate for storylines on topics related to public health, specifically challenges facing Egypt such as early marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and to promote universal access to quality reproductive health care, including modern contraceptives, to eliminate unmet need for family planning in Egypt.

Sandra de Castro Buffington, an inspirational speaker on social impact entertainment and conscious media, will represent UNFPA as a speaker of one of the master classes in the first edition of CIFF’s Cairo Industry Days platform.

Cairo Industry Days offers filmmakers from the Arab world an opportunity for networking, workshops, masterclasses and partnership opportunities with key and experienced international and regional industry professionals on the sidelines of the CIFF on November 25-29.

Buffington is the founder and president of StoryAction, LLC, and founder and former director of the UCLA Global Media Center for Social Impact. She infuses television, movies and emerging media with socially provocative storylines to improve health, justice and well-being worldwide.

“Stories in television, movies and emerging media have the power to transform our world. To awaken us. To foster a revolution of the heart and a higher image of human potential. To make every life count,” Buffington said.

As the former director of Hollywood, Health & Society, Buffington provided resources to Hollywood’s creative community with the goal of improving the accuracy of health-related storylines on top television programs and films, resulting in 565 storylines that aired on 91 television shows across 35 networks from 2009-2012.

UNFPA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports are also partnering with CIFF to award a film that promotes youth development issues and challenges, as part of its commitment to encourage filmmakers to tackle social issues through their work. 

“The film industry has an important role to play in raising awareness around the challenges facing youth development, as well as promoting behavioral change,” said Minister of Youth H.E Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, “the award is an incentive for more and more filmmakers to tackle social issues in their work.” 

The Cairo International Film Festival is the only internationally-accredited annual film festival in the Arab world, Africa and the Middle East. It was launched in 1976, to bridge Egypt with other cultures and promote it in the global film industry.

In 1985, the Egyptian Association of Film Writers and Critics, along with the Ministry of Culture and the Union of Artist’s Syndicates formed a joint committee to boost the festival.

In March 2018, the Minister of Culture appointed Mohamed Hefzy, an award-winning Egyptian screenwriter and producer, to preside over the CIFF in its 40th edition, making him the youngest president in the festival’s history.

We are honoured to support UNFPA and the incredible work they are doing to transform the lives of people in Egypt. At CIFF we have a mission to drive positive change though the power of film and raise awareness and it is crucial to be able to shine a spotlight on these incredibly important issues facing people living in our country.” 

The festival will take place on November 20-29.

UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of reproductive health services – including voluntary family planning, maternal health care and comprehensive reproductive health education. In Egypt, UNFPA’s programme of intervention is aligned with national development priorities outlined in Egypt’s Vision 2030 and National Population Strategy; United Nations Partnership and Development Assistance Framework (2018-2022).

The programme aims to assist the country in achieving the goals of “Egypt’s Vision 2030”and is relevant to the 2030 Agenda. It targets women, adolescents and youth, particularly those most in need, including disabled, rural communities, migrants and people affected by emergencies.

“We partner with entertainment industry in Egypt in order to raise awareness on key developmental challenges Egypt is facing. We aim to mobilize people through this concept that is designed to both entertain and educate, while weaving the issues of family planning, FGM and early marriage into powerful storytelling that draw in viewers by the millions. We in UNFPA strongly believe that   edutainment (entertainment education) has an important role to play in shifting norms, changing behaviours, and amplifying voices. Together we can unleash the transformational power to address reproductive health challenges Egypt is facing,” Aleksandar Bodiroza, UNFPA Representative, said.