Saudi Female Filmmakers Aim To Portray the True Saudi Woman through Their Films

With an aim of shedding the light on the social and psychological aspects of women in Saudi Arabia, Saudi female filmmakers Hind Al-Fahhad and Hanna Al-Omair presents a symbolic image of women in their short films.

The two are independent filmmakers who wrote stories, perfected backstage events while their cameras and drama monitored important issues. These Saudi filmmakers proved their competency and presence in the short film category in a short period of time with limited resources. Speaking to us, Al-Fahhad and Al-Omair said they intend to become the mirror that reflects the reality of Saudi women with its every detail.

They were honoured as two of the major Saudi filmmakers with their names topping the list of Arab female filmmakers. Having won a number of local and Gulf awards, their work were presented in international cinemas under promising short films category.

Al-Fahhad and Al-Omair worked together to direct ‘Basta,’ the Saudi film that won the jury special prize in the Muhr Gulf short category at the 2015 Dubai Film Festival. ‘Basta’ also secured an award for Best Short Film at the Youth Cinema Film Festival in Jeddah, and the Silver Palm Award at the Saudi Film Festival in Dammam.

‘Basta’ tells the story of vendors suffering in popular markets and the difficulties they face.

Al-Fahhad’s has directed two other short films namely ‘Three Brides and a Kite,’ which tells the story of a Saudi female pilot and her experience in invading a field that is monopolized by men in her community and ‘The Last Seat’ – a film describing the situation of women who are not allowed to lead their lives freely despite having top qualifications and high positions in society.

Meanwhile Al-Omair directed ‘Complaint,’ which received the Golden Palm Award at the 2015 Saudi Film Festival.

Speaking about the obstacles in their filmmaking journey, the two budding directors said that their achievements weren’t easy especially with limited resources. However, the two voiced great confidence in the Kingdom’s National Transformation Plan and Vision 2030 with regard to its support for the art and cultural field.

Al-Fahhad holds a master’s degree in Media Studies. Having begun her work as a photographer and not having it satisfy her ambitions, she moved on to cinema in 2012. She has participated in a number of Arab Film Festivals before her film ‘Basta,’ including the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival, The Gulf Film Festival, Maisa International Film Festival and the Turathuna Festival in Abu Dhabi.

Al-Omair holds a master’s degree in Translation from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. She started by writing for a number of local newspapers, and then moved on to do screenwriting, especially after she won the Golden Palm Award for her film ‘Complaint.’ She also received the Silver Palm Award for her film ‘Al-Hadar’ in 2008 at a Saudi film competition and received an award for her documentary  titled ‘Away from Talk’ at the Gulf Festival in 2009.

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