Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour’s Wadjda, the first-ever feature shot entirely inside the Kingdom – and notably the first Saudi film made by a female director – has now become the Kingdom’s first entry ever submitted to the Oscars. Sultan AI Bazie, head of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, and chairman of the nominating committee, said, “We are very proud of the film as an authentic representation of our country and culture, and are very pleased to see the themes and story of the film resonate with audiences well beyond our borders.” Produced by Rotana Studios, the film debuted in Venice last year. Al Mansour explained that she was sometimes relegated to directing by telephone since Saudi law does not allow women and men to be seen together outside. Following Venice, the movie played the Telluride, Palm Springs, London, Tribeca and LA Film Festivals among others. It tells the story of a young girl who challenges deep-rooted Saudi traditions in a determined quest to buy a bicycle. Sony Pictures Classics acquired the pic last September.
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