When I first heard about filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour, I was delighted, enthusiastic, and wanted to learn more about her.  Not only is she the first Saudi woman filmmaker, she has made the first Saudi feature film.  Her film Wadjda, about a girl who has a simple dream of buying and riding a bicycle, has been making a big splash all around the world since last year.  Mansour has been racking up awards for her film in Venice, Rotterdam, Dubai, and beyond, and has been doing a number of interviews.  It was recently announced that Wadjda has been nominated by Saudi Arabia as its Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film. 
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Listen to an interview with Haifaa Al Mansour on CBC Radio that was posted online this morning.  (Link opens a radio pop-up.  Or, you can access the interview in this article.)

You can also Follow Mansour's tweets @Haifaamansour.

Mansour is one of several women directors whose films are being put forth as Oscar contenders for Best Foreign Language Film.  As of the writing of this article, seven countries have nominated films directed solely by a woman, with several others nominating films directed by a female-male directing team.  Sole female directors have made films nominated by the Czech Republic (Agnieszka Holland, Burning Bush), New Zealand (Dana Rotberg, White Lies (Tuakiri Huna)), Slovakia (Mira Fornay, My Dog Killer), the Philippines (Hannah Espia, Transit), Finland (Ulrika Bengts, Disciple), Portugal (Valeria Sarmiento, Lines of Wellington), and Spain (Gracia Querejeta, 15 Years and One Day). 
Wadjda is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics and had a few select screenings earlier this year.  Released on September 13 in New York and Los Angeles, it will be rolling out in various cities across the U.S. over the coming months.  Click here to see if it might be playing at a theatre near you! 

Maybe you'd like to consider arranging a get-together of film-loving friends, watch the film as a group, and have a chat about it afterwards.  A film field trip! Let us know if you do. What did people think of it?
 
 
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Still from Haifa Al Mansour's feature film "Wadjda"
"A lot of Saudi girls…have this huge potential, but give up because the culture is very rigid, and they are afraid to challenge everything."

– Haifa Al Mansour, director
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Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghanaian-American director of "Kwaku Ananse" which won an Africa Movie Academy Award in 2013
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Still from Marion Vernoux's "Bright Days Ahead" starring Fanny Ardant
"There are more female directors making movies in China than any other country." – Jin Yimeng, writer-director
 
 
 
 
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Wiccan priestess Ipsita Roy Chakraverti
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Alice Englert as "Rosa" (left) with Elle Fanning as "Ginger"
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Filmmaker Anjali Menon
(Article in Italian)  1ST EUROPEAN WOMEN FILMMAKERS FESTIVAL (EWF- Festival)
at Roma Daily News

See below for English translation.