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.
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).
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?