Shedding Light on Being a Female Actress in the Gulf
Variety Magazine Publishes an Interview with Saudi Filmmaker Ahd
Saudi actress and filmmaker Ahd has recently conducted an interview with Variety magazine that was published in their April 30th, 2013 issue. Conducted by Nick Vivarelli, the interviewfocused on Ahd's acting repertoire and the challenges faced being a Saudi filmmaker and actress, especially after starring her latest directorial project, Sanctity, which was shot on location in Jeddah. The interview also investigated Ahd's career, aspirations, and her thoughts on celebrities she has previously collaborated with.
Vivarelli praised Ahd'sbravery in overcoming the Saudi restrictions imposed on women, as being an actress in the Gulf is considered even bolder than being a female director. He talked about her first acting role in the Turkish production Razan after which shemade her first directorial effort.Vivarellipraised Ahd's performance in Wadjda.
Ahd expressed her thoughts on her collaboration with Amr Waked, the renowned Egyptian actor,in TheShoemaker,which was directed and co-starred by herself, and said "I really learned a lot working with him". She also expressedher wish to work with other Arab directors including Hany Abu-Assad, director of Paradise Now, and Nadine Labaki director of Where Do We Go Now?"because they s peak to universal audiences", Ahd explains.She goes on to name Sean Penn as aspirational figure and role model in acting and directing.
Although her films were criticallyacclaimed and have drawn notice internationally, Ahd humbly admits that she constantly seeks to reinvent herself, "I don't like trendy. I don't want to be put in a box. I want to be able to always transform myself". For instance, Ahd's dream role is to portray Mary Magdalene; this stands true to her ever-evolving persona.
At the end of the of the article, Vivarelli reveals that Ahd is a co-chair of the Global Partnership for Women and Girls through which she hopes to empower Muslim females around the world, bringing them in closer contact with the creative arts.
Ahd's directorial debut was the short film, The Shoemaker, where she played the title role opposite of Egyptian actor Amr Waked. The film garnered numerous awards from Arab and international festivals including the Gulf Film Festival and Beirut International Film Festival, as well as competing in theInternational Short Film Festival Clermont-Ferrand.
In October-2012, Ahd was selected as a jury member in the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival. In the same year, Ahd participated in the highly acclaimed Venice International Film Festival as an actress through the Saudi film Wadjda. She also starred in the Turkish film, Razan, for which she won theGolden Gate Award for Best Actress at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The film also participated in the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Ahd is the first Saudi woman to study film acting and filmmaking in the USA, after which she worked on Hollywood films including The Kingdom with director Peter Berg in 2007.
Sanctity, Ahd's second directorial project, has recently won the second prize at the official ShortCompetition in the 6th Gulf Film Festival. Being one of the prominent Arab women filmmakers, her filmSanctity was selected to participate in Bird's Eye View International Film Festival in London. The festival's installment of this year was focusing on the contributions of female filmmakers to the world of cinema.
Sanctity was the first Saudi film to ever screen within the framework of the highly acclaimed BerlinInternational Film Festival where it was part of the Short Film Competition.The film's first festival participation was at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival where it went toreceive the Development award.
Shot on location in Jeddah, KSA,Sanctity tells the story of Areej, a young widow who tries her best to protect her unborn child.