Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour is a pioneer for female storytellers who dare to step outside gender conventions. She recently came to USC’s Feminist Media Festival to discuss the importance of young women pushing boundaries.
Making a film about a young girl who wants to buy a green bicycle might not sound, at first glance, like a gesture of defiance. But when you’re a woman directing a film in Saudi Arabia — the first ever to do so — authoring an uplifting coming-of-age story takes guts. Al-Mansour’s first feature film Wadjda was also the first made entirely inside the kingdom.
In this interview, al-Mansour discusses the theme of women confronting new creative frontiers. Her next film, A Storm in the Stars, tells the story of 18-year-old Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein, a breakthrough in the science-fiction genre. Elle Fanning stars as Mary Shelley, and Douglas Booth as poet Percy Shelley. The film will be released in 2017.