Film festival organizers have given their backing to five female Saudi directors for a unique new movie project.
Hind Alfahhad, Jowaher Alamri, Noor Alameer, Sara Mesfer and Fatima Al-Banawi will make five short films that will be combined into an omnibus documentary feature, with the award-winning Palestinian filmmaker Suha Arraf selected as screenwriting supervisor.
Funded by the Red Sea International Film Festival and produced by the Jeddah production house Cinepoetics Pictures, the film will have its premiere at the inaugural festival in March.
“This project provides powerful first-person accounts of contemporary life in Saudi, from Saudi women, at a time of fascinating change,” festival director Mahmoud Sabbagh said.
“We believe in film’s capacity to advance diversity and integration. Supporting innovative new works is central to this mission. There is no better way to work toward this than by creating opportunities for Saudi filmmakers to tell their own stories.”
Each women-centered narrative is an intimate character portrait. Together, their varied settings and storylines display the diversity of the Saudi contemporary film scene, with the directors hailing from throughout the Kingdom and the films set in cities including Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, and Riyadh.
“It has been a unique experience participating in a film alongside fellow Saudi women directors, all telling stories around womanhood in distinctive ways,” director Alfahhad said.