London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi filmmaker, Haifaa al-Mansour, is set to premier her first feature-length film, Wadjda, at the 69th annual Venice film festival.
Wadjda, written and directed by Al Mansour, tells the story of a 10-year-old girl living in Riyadh who dreams of buying a beautiful green bicycle, but her quest brings her up against discrimination.
The coming-of-age drama has been hailed as “groundbreaking” by the global film industry, and is the first full-length feature film to be shot entirely in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with an all-Saudi cast.
Al-Mansour who is Saudi Arabia’s first female film director, had to film parts of Wadjda while setting in a van in order to avoid possible harassment, since a significant number of Saudis look down on the art of filmmaking.
Regarding the irony of being a filmmaker in a country with no movie theaters, Al-Mansour told CNN earlier this year, “There are a lot of kids who want to make films. There’s a whole generation using cameras and mobile phones and they are not cut off from the world around them. Once films become a reality, movie theaters will become a reality.”
Wadjda is produced by Germany’s Razor Film, whose credits include Oscar nominees Paradise Now and Waltz with Bashir.
Other films set to debut at the 2012 Venice film festival include; “The Company You Keep” directed and starring Robert Redford, Passion by Legendary Scarface director Brian De Palma and Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson documentary, “Bad 25”.