Haifaa Al-Mansour

Haifaa al mansour wadjda saudi arabia venice film festival
is a film director from Saudi Arabia. She is one of the country's best-known and most controversial directors, and the first female Saudi filmmaker.

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HaifaaAlMansour75 karma

Well I don't wear one personally. But I respect people who do. I have a problem with niqab, where you cover the face, because I think that the Face is a woman's face and identity and dignity, and it should not be covered, women should be proud of who they are. Also, in Islam there are a lot of schools that do not require it. It is only very strict interpretations that require women to do that. But I hope women in my country know that.

HaifaaAlMansour59 karma

I love America. It's a country full of diversity and respect and stuff like that. There is respect for being different, and people are friendly and accepting.

HaifaaAlMansour59 karma

I think the actual shooting. It was very stressful in Saudi in some parts. The country was segregated, I had to be in a van in some parts because men and women are not allowed to work together. We would communicate over walkie-talkie and I had a monitor in the van to be able to see everything. But it felt amazing to be able to make a film in Saudi and be able to bring art into the Kingdom.

There are no movie theatres in Saudi. So people most likely will see the film there when it comes on DVD. And, honestly, in this time and age, they will most likely see it online.

HaifaaAlMansour51 karma

Oh yes. Saudi Arabia is opening up. 65% or 70% of the population is below the age of 25. And those people have access to the world and certainly they want a more modern life, I think. And in April of this year, a law was passed so that women can bike in certain areas! Small changes like that will change the mindset, so it's good. Women will also start voting, also, next year. And 30 women have been appointed to the Shura council (which is like the Parliament in Saudi) earlier this year. So there are changes. But we of course want more.

HaifaaAlMansour51 karma

My favorite part of America is probably Los Angeles, California. It is sunny and not as hot as back home.

HaifaaAlMansour47 karma

Thank you! I am technically doing two firsts: I shot the first film ever inside Saudi Arabia, and I am the first female filmmaker. But I am doing it all because I am trying to tell a story, I was not trying to collect a first trophy. Feminists embrace the film with a lot of love.

HaifaaAlMansour38 karma

Thank you for your kind words. We need to work harder to explain our culture, and promote tolerance and acceptance both from within and outside. It's a lot of work as you may know.

I don't know about 5 years about cinema coming back. I hope sooner but you never know. I'll definitely join you at /r/SaudiArabia.

HaifaaAlMansour38 karma

The least favorite part was financing. People did not believe in the film and asking for money is not my favorite part. I was able to find some people from Razorfilm in Germany and Rotana in Saudi who provided the financing. But the journey was difficult.

HaifaaAlMansour29 karma

No, I am not trying to show the West what is happening in my country, that is not my aim in making films. I want to bridge cultures and be more of a global citizen and tell a story the way everybody tells a story. I think it makes the world a better place when we listen to each other. I don't make films to educate the people about all of Saudi Arabia, I just want to contribute to a dialogue. Just the same way that when an American director tries to make a film, they are trying to tell a story about themselves and how they see the world, not trying to convey all of America. My primary concern is telling an interesting story.

Thank you so much for the kind word!

HaifaaAlMansour26 karma

I did my masters in film in Sydney at the University of Sydney. But I learned mostly by making films. Making this film was really a scary process. I was making decisions all the time and sometimes it is such a stressful situation that I did not know what to do, or if I was making the right decision, but I felt it was very important to find what I wanted to say and it would guide me through the entire process. But it was chaotic.