Saudi Arabia’s First Feature-Length Film

In recent popular culture news, there is a buzz about the first feature length motion picture filmed in Saudi Arabia. This film has another claim for fame, too. It’s the first film directed by a Saudi woman!
Funding was a struggle to obtain at first. It actually took five years for everything to come together. Haifaa Al Mansour, writer and director of the film, says she sent hundreds of emails to producers looking for backing. Eventually she received a reply from Oscar nominated producers Gerhard Meixner and Roman Paul.
Directing the film itself was another hassle. Because of rules in Saudi Arabia restricting the mingling and collaboration of men and women in the work place, Mansour had to give directions over the phone from a second location. She sometimes gave directions from the back of a hidden van via walkie talkie to avoid being seen giving direct orders to her male crew members.
The film tells the story of a native schoolgirl named Wadjda who dreams of going against social norms and buying a bicycle for herself. Mansour says about her work, “I wanted to make a film that is transparent about the culture—because I know a lot of people don’t know what it is like in Saudi Arabia, or what Saudi Arabia looks like.”

A longer article about this film can be found at:

http://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/Wadjda-review-Saudi-Arabia-through-woman-s-lens-4828215.php

Sources: Motherjones.com, Youtube.com, sfgate.com

Posted By: Brittany Lintner

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