A homecoming for ‘Wadjda’ at Dubai film festival

The film was shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and took Al Mansoor five years to make

  • By Nadia Eldemerdash, Web Producer
  • Published: 23:55 December 12, 2012

Dubai: The director and star of the Saudi Arabian movie ‘Wadjda’ walked the red carpet let on Wednesday ahead of the DIFF premiere of the movie at the Madinat Jumeirah Theater.

Haifa Al Mansoor, the director, and Waad Mohammad, who plays the title character, were all smiles as they posed for pictures and spoke to the press.
“It’s a very special moment for me,” said Al Mansoor, who wore a navy blue vintage Yves Saint Lauren dress. “We premiered everywhere in the world…and today we’re home.”

‘Wadjda’ is the story of an 11-year-old girl who is determined to get a green bike, even though it is considered unacceptable for girls to ride bikes in her Saudi town. Wadjda tries to earn money to buy it by selling forbidden items at her school, but when she is caught, she sets her sights on a Qur’an competition with a cash prize.

Thirteen-year-old Mohammad seemed more interested in the movie than the media attention, saying of her experience on the red carpet and doing interviews, “it’s ordinary, but it’s the cinema here that’s like [big].”

“When I saw [Wadjda] in the cinema I was crying…I couldn’t believe that I was seeing myself on the big screen in the cinema,” she said.

The film was shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and took Al Mansoor five years to make.

“It was difficult but extremely rewarding,” Al Mansoor said of shooting the film in the conservative country where there are no cinemas or film screenings. “I really enjoyed filming in Riyadh…for me it’s like home.”

Al Mansoor didn’t say too much about her upcoming projects, but she did say that she wanted to work in Saudi Arabia again.

“I always intend to work at home and hopefully bring more stories and put a human face on the country,” she said.

‘Wadjda’ will be screened at Mall of the Emirates Saturday at 3:45 p.m.