First film shot in Saudi to debut at Cannes

'Wadjda' is the story of an 11-year girl growing up in ultra conservative Riyadh
(Bloomberg)
By Claire Valdini
Wed 16 May 2012 11:57 AM

The first ever film to be shot in Saudi Arabia will make its debut at the Cannes’ Marche du Film, one of the largest film markets in the world.

'Wadjda', written and directed by Saudi filmmaker Haiffa Al Mansour, tells the story of an 11-year old girl growing up in the suburbs of Riyadh. Wadjda’s dream is to own and ride a green bicycle, a forbidden luxury in the ultra conservative Gulf state.

“I'm so proud to have shot the first full-length feature ever filmed entirely inside the kingdom,” Mansour told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I come from a small town in Saudi Arabia where there are many girls like Wadjda who have big dreams, strong characters and so much potential. These girls can, and will, reshape and redefine our nation,” she added.

'Wadjda' stars one of the kingdom’s best known television actresses Reem Abdulla and was funded by the UTA Independent Film Group and Amr Alkahtani of Rotana Studios.

'Wadjda' is Al Mansour’s first feature-length film but she has directed several other short films including 'Who?' and 'Women Without Shadows'. Most of her work is focused on women’s issues.

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