Haifaa Al Mansour

  • Aired:  12/16/13
  •  | Views: 46,626

"Wadjda" director Haifaa Al Mansour explains how she became the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia. (7:48)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT SHE'S THE FIRSTFEMALE FILMMAKER IN SAUDI

ARABIA.

HER MOVIE WHICH SHE WROTE ANDDIRECTED IS CALLED WADJDA.

HER MOVIE WHICH SHE WROTE ANDDIRECTED IS CALLED WADJDA.

HER MOVIE WHICH SHE WROTE ANDDIRECTED IS CALLED WADJDA.

>> Jon: PLEASE WELCOMEHAIFAA AL MANSOUR.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]HOW ARE YOU?

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> WOW.

>> Jon: FIRST OF ALL I SEE YOUARE WEARING THE TRADITIONAL

SAUDI BLACK LEATHER FONZIEJACKET.

I BOUGHT IT TO YOU FOR, JON.

>> Jon: IT'S LOVELY.

WHAT A LOVELY WONDERFUL FILM.

>> AH.

>> Jon: CAN YOU EXPLAIN JUSTBRIEFLY THE PLOT FOR EVERYBODY?

>> YEAH, IT TOOK A WHILE TO GETIT OFF THE GROUND, FIVE YEARS OF

WORK.

IT'S A JOURNEY OF A LITTLEGIRL IN SAUDI.

SHE'S FEISTY, HAS A GREAT SENSEOF HUMOR.

>> Jon: THIS IS THE WOMAN THATWE SAW?

>> WADJDA, YEAH.

SHE WANTS A BICYCLE.

YOU KNOW SAUDI ARABIA ALLCONSERVATIVE AND IT'S ALL ABOUT

WHAT WOMEN CANNOT DOAND EVERYTHING. BUT

SHE MANAGES TO GET IT AND IT'SABOUT ACHIEVING DREAMS AND

WORKING HARD.

IT CONCENTRATES MORE ABOUT HUMANDIGNITY AND RESISTANCE AND

RESILIANCE.

>> Jon: BUT THIS IS WHAT I SOAPPRECIATE ABOUT IT.

THE THEME IS SO UNIVERSAL ANDSIMPLE THAT YOU FORGET.

AND THEN THE CONTEXT OF WHERE ITIS JUST BECOMES PART OF THE

BACKDROP, AND IT REALLY HELPS TOHUMANIZE ALL THE DIFFERENT

CHARACTERS AND INFORM IN A WAYTHAT I THINK IT WOULDN'T

OTHERWISE.

>> I TRIED NOT TO JUSTLIKE COMPLAIN

ABOUT REALITY AND MAKE ITINSPIRING.

PEOPLE IN SAUDI ARABIA WOMEN INGENERAL NEED TO HAVE REFERENCE

OF PEOPLE WORKING REALLY HARD TOCHANGE THEIR DESTINY.

IT'S HARD JUST TO SHOW WOMEN ASVICTIMS.

WE NEED TOSHOW THEM AS WOMEN WHO ARE

PROACTIVE TRYING TO MAKE THEIRLIFE BETTER.

IT'S GOOD FOR ESPECIALLY YOUNGERGENERATIONS TO SEE THAT.

>> Jon: THIS LITTLE GIRL, WHOBY THE WAY, WHAT A FIRECRACKER,

WHERE DID YOU FIND THE YOUNGACTRESS BECAUSE SHE'S TERRIFIC

IN THIS?

IT'S HARD TO FIND ACTRESSESIN SAUDI ESPECIALLY YOUNG

ONES NOT IN THE BUSINESS.

IT WAS THE FIRST FILM EVERFILMED COMPLETELY IN SAUDI.

>> Jon: THERE'S NO MOVIESTUDIOS NO IMAX NONE OF THAT.

>> NOTHING.

>> Jon: SYNAGOGUES, NOTHING.

>> THAT IS FOR SURE.

[LAUGHTER]WE DIDN'T WANT TO ATTRACT

ATTENTION.

WORK LOW PROFILE.

WE CAN'T PUT CASTING CALLS FORGIRLS.

WE HAD TO RELY ON THE WORD OFMOUTH AND SMALL PRODUCTION

COMPANIES THAT INCLUDES KIDS FORHOLIDAYS AND ALL THAT.

YEAH, WE MET A LOT OF AMAZINGGIRLS, REALLY BEAUTIFUL HAVE

CHARISMA BUT THEY GO HOME ANDHAVE SECOND THOUGHTS AND THEY

DON'T WANT TO DO THAT.

THE HEART IS BREAKING BECAUSETHEY ARE AFRAID OF SOCIETY AND

WHAT PEOPLE WILL THINK OF THEM.

THEN I WROTE THE STORY ON MYNIECE.

I HAVE A NIECE LIKE THIS ALWAYSSCHEMING TO EARN SOME MONEY.

IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF THE SPIRITOF MY NIECE.

SHE DIDN'T CARE SHE DIDN'T DOHER HAIR OR ANYTHING.

I LIKED THAT.

>> Jon: IT WAS VERYINTERESTING.

AS I WATCHED IT, I THOUGHT IT'SSO DETAILED IT SMACKED OF

PERSONAL -- IT'S THE GREEN BIKE.

THERE HAD TO HAVE BEEN A GREENBIKE IN YOUR PAST.

>> OH, YEAH.

>> Jon: BECAUSE IT'S TOO --THERE WAS SOMETHING SO ORGANIC

AND NATURAL.

>> I HAD A GREEN BICYCLE. I'MFROM A BIG FAMILY, ONE OF 12

KIDS, ONE IN BETWEEN TWO BOYS.

MY FATHER TOOK MY BROTHERS TOBUY A BICYCLE. I SAW A GREEN

ONE.

HE WANTED TO BUY IT FOR ME BUTTHE GUY SELLING WASN'T HAPPY WAS

THINKING MY FATHER DID THE WRONGDECISION.

>> Jon: DIDN'T WANT TO SELL TOA GIRL?

>> YEAH, HE SOLD IT BUT HE MADEHIS OBJECTION CLEAR.

>> Jon: I THOUGHT IT WAS SOINTERESTING TO WATCH THE

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOW THE GIRLAND HER MOTHER INTERACTED IN

PUBLIC AND INTERACTED INPRIVATE.

IN PRIVATE IT'S SORT OF THEWHOLE WORLD OPENS UP TO THEM AND

THEY HAVE A BEAUTIFULRELATIONSHIP BUT IN PUBLIC IT

FEELS LIKE THERE'S A SENSE OFFEAR OR --

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Jon: OR ANXIETY.

>> SAUDI IS ALL ABOUT WHAT ISPRIVATE AND WHAT IS PUBLIC.

PUBLIC PEOPLE HAVE TO -- EVENMEN HAVE TO WEAR ALL THE GEAR

AND ALL THAT AND KEEP A CERTAINPERSONA.

AT HOME THERE'S FLIRTING, LOVEFOR FOOD, DANCING.

THAT'S KIND OF LIKE NORMALFAMILY LIFE.

A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T SEE THATABOUT SAUDI.

THAT'S WHAT I WANTED TO SAYABOUT THE SOCIETY.

TO PUT A HUMAN FACE ON THECULTURE.

WE'RE ALWAYS ON THE ECONOMY ANDPOLITICS BUT IT'S NICE TO KNOW

HOW PEOPLE ARE.

>> Jon: HAS THE GOVERNMENTCONTACTED YOU?

>> OH, YES.

>> Jon: ARE THEY NERVOUS ABOUTTHIS?

UPSET ABOUT THIS?

YOU FILMED IN SAUDI.

WOMEN ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TALKTO UNRELATED RELATIVES WHO ARE

MEN.

HOW DID YOU EVEN FILM?

>> OH, YEAH IN PUBLIC I WAS IN AVAN.

>> Jon: YOU WERE IN A VAN?

>> YES AND I HAD A WALKIE TALKIEAND HAD A MONITOR.

>> Jon: YOU COULDN'T GO ON THESTREET SO YOU WOULD SIT IN THE

VAN AND TALK TO THE ACTORS.

>> IT'S A VERY COMPLIANT PLACE.

>> Jon: WHAT DO THEY THINK OFWHAT YOU'VE DONE?

>> THEY NOMINATED THE FILM SAUDIARABIA TO THE OSCARS.

>> Jon: THEY LOVE IT.

THAT'S VERY NICE.

IT'S EXCITING.

>> IT IS EXCITING.

I THINK THAT IT'S OPENING UP TOWOMAN AND ARTS.

IT'S VERY CONSERVATIVE ANDPEOPLE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL

WHAT TO SAY OR NOT TO SAY BUTTHERE'S A SMALL SPACE AND I

THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TOCAPITALIZE ON THAT SPACE.

LEARN FROM IRANIAN FILMMAKERSTHEY DO FILMS FROM WHERE THEY

COME FROM AND ACCEPTED BACKHOME AND I THINK IT'S EFFECTIVE

IN CHANGING PEOPLE THERE AND ITHINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO

HAVE THIS CHANGE THAT TAKESROOTS DEEP IN LIKE BELIEF AND

TRADITION.

>> Jon: I THINK WHAT IS SOOPTIMISTIC BECAUSE YOU CAN READ

IT TWO WAYS BUT WHAT LEAVES WITHYOU AN OPTIMISTIC FEELING IS

THERE'S A CERTAIN AIR OFINEVITABILITY ABOUT THIS CHANGE.

THIS IS OUT OF GOVERNMENTCONTROL THIS ISN'T SOMETHING

THEY'LL BE ABLE TO STOP.

>> I THINK THE WORLD ISDIFFERENT NOW ALL THE

INFORMATION AND SAUDIS ARE RICH.

ALL THE KIDS HAVE AN iPAD, ACCESS TO INTERNET.

YOU CANNOT STOP THAT.

>> Jon: CONGRATULATIONS.

IT'S A MARVELOUS FILM.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU ONTHE SHOW.

GOOD LUCK WITH THE OSCARS.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.

>> Jon: WADJDA IT'S IN THEATERSNOW. HAIFAA AL MONSOUR.

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