Screening invitation for : WADJDA
11th July 2013, 7pm, Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews
New feature film WADJDA is on general release from the 19th of July. Written and directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour – the first female filmmaker from Saudi Arabia and also the first feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia.
Storm in a Teacup supporters are invited to a special screening on 11th July at Soho Hotel followed by a Q&A with director Haiffa Al-Mansour. Please RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wadjda has been critically acclaimed at film festivals around the world, and it’s now being released in cinemas across the UK on 19th July – see trailer here:
As well as Haifaa being something of a trailblazer, the film has been commended for its subtle treatment of the issues and obstacles facing women in Saudi Arabia on a daily basis, focusing on a teenager, her school friends, teachers & mother.
The film has also been heralded for its social impact, apparently inspiring more women to take up cycling, something very much frowned upon by the conservative leadership.
WADJDA is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself.
At first, Wadjda’s mother is too preoccupied with convincing her husband not to take a second wife to realize what’s going on. And soon enough Wadjda’s plans are thwarted when she is caught running various schemes at school. Just as she is losing hope of raising enough money, she hears of a cash prize for a Koran recitation competition at her school. She devotes herself to the memorisation and recitation of Koranic verses, and her teachers begin to see Wadjda as a model pious girl. The competition isn‘t going to be easy, especially for a troublemaker like Wadjda, but she refuses to give in. She is determined to continue fighting for her dreams…
Haifaa Al-Mansour | Biography
Haifaa Al-Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and is regarded as one of the most significant cinematic figures in the Kingdom. She finished her bachelor’s degree in Literature at the American University in Cairo and completed a Master’s degree in Directing and Film Studies from the University of Sydney.
The success of her three short films, as well as the international acclaim of her award winning 2005 documentary Women Without Shadows, influenced a whole new wave of Saudi filmmakers and made the issue of opening cinemas in the Kingdom a front-page discussion. Within the Kingdom her work is both praised and vilified for encouraging discussion on topics generally considered taboo, like tolerance, the dangers of orthodoxy, and the need for Saudis to take a critical look at their traditional and restrictive culture.
Through both her films and her work in television and print media Al-Mansour is famous for penetrating the wall of silence surrounding the sequestered lives of Saudi women and providing a platform for their unheard voices