Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, Haifaa Al-Mansour has said she is proud to contribute to making the country more tolerant and open, with her movie now in the Oscar race, and that at times she was forced to shoot while hiding in a van.
She belongs to a country where movie halls are banned and where women are not allowed to drive, hold certain jobs or, in most cases, appear in public without a male escort.
The director shot an entire feature-length film inside the conservative confines of Saudi Arabia, becoming the first woman to do so, and, in the process, has created a movie that’s earning considerable buzz and praise around the world, the report said.
Waad Mohammad stars as Wadjda in the movie by the same name, who’s determined to buy a bicycle despite laws forbidding girls from riding, the report added.
Since the movie was shot, the law has been relaxed to allow females to bike, but only in recreational areas, while wearing a full-length abaya and with a male relative present, the report further said.
In her late 20s, Al-Mansour began making low-budget shorts with her siblings as crew. She said the movie, not surprisingly, had drawn criticism from conservatives inside Saudi Arabia and a lot of people are unhappy with it.