Breaking down the barriers in Saudi filmmaking

by Peter D. Marshall

by Alex Ritman.

The past year has been something of a first for filmmaking in Saudi Arabia, a country still without a cinema to call its own. Much of the attention has been dominated by the GFF opener Wadjda, the first feature to be wholly shot in the kingdom by its first female director, Haifaa Al Mansour. But following closely behind comes the short film Sanctity, which earlier this year became the first Saudi film to appear at the Berlin Film Festival.

“It was in the official competition and was also the first short over 30 minutes long that made it in the history of the festival,” says Ahd, the singular stage name of the rising filmmaker and actress Ahd Kamel.

In Sanctity, Ahd directs herself as Areej, a recently widowed and pregnant woman in Jeddah who makes ends meet by taking in a young drug dealer while fending off the unwanted advances of her brother-in-law. But while the film has been earning her recognition both in front of and behind the camera (she said one of the Berlin screenings was completely packed), it’s the acting side where she’s choosing to focus for the time being.

Read the rest of this article from The National.

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