CLU to screen film about Saudi girl

'Wadjda' is first feature filmed entirely in kingdom

“Wadjda,” the story of a 10-year-old girl, has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Feb. 11, 2014) California Lutheran University will show the first full-length feature ever filmed entirely inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at Muvico Thousand Oaks 14.

“Wadjda,” the story of a 10-year-old girl, and will be screened in honor of International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, as part of CLU’s Reel Justice Film Series.

The PG-rated film’s title character is fun-loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of the conservative world in which she lives in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue, so Wadjda decides to raise the money herself.

Director Haifaa Al Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and is regarded as one of the kingdom’s most significant cinematic figures. Within Saudi Arabia, her work is both praised and vilified for encouraging discussion on taboo subjects like tolerance, the dangers of orthodoxy and the need for Saudis to take a critical look at their traditional and restrictive culture. She comes from a small town in Saudi Arabia where, she says, there are many girls like Wadjda who have big dreams, strong characters and so much potential. Mansour believes that these girls can, and will, reshape and redefine the nation.

“It was important for me to work with an all-Saudi cast, to tell this story with authentic, local voices. I hope the film offers a unique insight into my own country and speaks of universal themes of hope and perseverance that people of all cultures can relate to,” Mansour said of the 2012 release, which has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world.

Admission is free. Tickets will be available starting at 6:30 p.m. until the theater reaches capacity. Muvico Thousand Oaks 14 is located at 166 W. Hillcrest Drive.

CLU’s Center for Equality and Justice, Gender and Women’s Studies Program, ASCLU, the Religion Department, the student club Feminism Is…, the Saudi Student Club and the Muslim Student Association are sponsoring the event. For information, contact Peter Carlson at or 805-493-3435.