Misr International Films (MIF) launched Zawya in March 2014 as the first arthouse cinema in Egypt, located in Downtown's Cinema Odeon. With a program split between theatrical releases and special events, Zawya has screened an alternative selection of films from different parts of the world, including short films, documentaries, feature films, and experimental work. Zawya’s program focuses on local independent films to encourage and promote the work of young Egyptian and Arab filmmakers.

Having organized screenings in multiple venues outside of Cairo, Zaywa is now growing into a series of cinema screens spread out across the country.