Film Countries Archives: Saudi Arabia

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CineYouth Program

Frames of Reference: Documentary

  Canada, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, United States     5 shorts | 53 minutes


These five incredible shorts function as a window into diverse forms of the human experience, highlighting courageous expressions of identity, examples of uplifting community, and insightful responses to common misconceptions.

Please note: Films in this program contain themes, images, and language that may not be suitable for all ages.


A young woman gazes ahead with her hair draped over her eyes and her right hand clawed over her chest.

The Heel

Sofia S. Lomax | Connecticut | Age 22

Jules Daddio, also known as Skylar Grey, is an up-and-coming female wrestler from North Haven, Connecticut. Jules paints a picture of the professional wrestling ecosystem and grapples with the history of women’s progress in the sport.

A young man with a visual impairment closely inspects a clear mug of milk.

Blind Sighted

Mitch Davila Armendano | Colorado | Age 14

Mitch, Jaden, and Stevie, three young students with visual impairments who attend the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, detail common misconceptions and their struggles for accurate representation.

A red and white furry with fangs, black claws, and yellow goggles dances in front of the mirror.


Aly Labbé-Hervieux | Canada | Age 21

In Pessamit, Canada, Aly reflects upon the importance of their fursona, Dexter. Dexter helps Aly bring joy to others through his extroverted and social attitude.

A group of aspiring martial artists excitedly prepares to engage in the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira.

The Capoeristas

Mariel Mudrik | Chicago | Age 21

A group of Chicagoans find companionship in the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, exploring how it connects them not only to their community but also to their lost heritage.

A harnessed camel with no rider stands in the sand in front of a group of people conversing under an umbrella.


Ayan Khalil Shammmalakh | State of Palestine, Saudi Arabia | Age 19

This multimedia documentary follows Brucey–sailing slang for anchor–and his family as they give insight into the fishing trade and their connection to the ocean in Gaza.


Presented by logo: Adobe Premiere Pro 217x75

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Shorts 9: Family Friendly Animation – Better Together


  Canada, Germany, Mexico, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United States     75 minutes


All ages are welcome in this family-friendly program, full of colorful films that celebrate play, encourage curiosity, and emphasize the importance of communal bonds. Featuring works by Shira Avni, Lena von Döhren, Eva Rust, Guillermo Casarin, Seungbae Jeon, Christian Kaufmann, João Rodrigues, Afnan Bawyan, Adriel Meka, and Mitra Shahidi.

Two One Two (Canada) offers a poetic and deeply personal glimpse into motherhood in the form of a gorgeous, glimmering two-headed monster. A gassy fish allies with other sea creatures to fend off a hungry seagull in the hilarious and melodious underwater tale POND (Switzerland). A girl connects with her Mayan heritage on a camping trip with her father that turns into an exciting adventure in Balam (Mexico, U.S.). Peek into the inner lives of batteries with the oddball charmer Battery Mommy (South Korea). After a tiger escapes from the zoo, a bored subway worker gets the surprise of a lifetime in Town Hall Square (Germany). A curious girl gets sucked into the bizarre and magical world of the book she is reading in Ana Morphose (Portugal). A woman attempts to overcome language barriers by preparing a cultural dish that takes on a life of its own in Saleeg (Saudi Arabia, The Netherlands, Sweden). A friendly boy makes an unexpected connection when he attends a mysterious summer camp in Camp Kona (U.S.). In Starling (U.S.), a couple is visited by their child in her new spiritual form for a beautiful meditation on grief and eternal love.

 Arabic, English, Korean, Mayan, Spanish, Tigrinya, Urdu with subtitles

Screenings & Events

Virtual Screening

This program will be available to stream from October 16 at 12:00pm CT to October 22 at 11:59pm CDT.


Film Supporters

Logo: Canada 313x100

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Three children sit in the backseat of a car, their parents in the front seat in the foreground.

The Burdened

  Amr Gamal

  Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia     90 minutes


Aden, Southern Yemen. Married couple Isra’a and Ahmed are in trouble. Already struggling to make ends meet for their three young children, the beleaguered parents receive some unsettling news: Isra’a is pregnant. Forced to make a difficult decision in the best interest of their family, the two decide to procure an abortion.

The Burdened patiently tracks the couple’s odyssey as they navigate the hostile bureaucracy of their conservative, wartorn surroundings. Expertly composed long takes and magnetic lead performances lend a realism to the narrative, as Isra’a and Ahmed traverse the city to bribe doctors, falsify medical records, and do everything they can to keep their family together. Based on true events, the film is a timely examination of life in modern day Yemen and a passionate rendering of one family’s fight to survive.

 Arabic with subtitles

Screenings & Events


Film Credits

  •   Mohsen Alkhalifi, Amr Gamal
  •   Mazen Refaat, Amr Gamal
  •   Mrinal Desai
  •   Khaled Hamdan, Abeer Mohammed, Samah Alamrani, Awsam Abdulrahman
  •   Adenium Productions


New Directors Program Sponsor

Robert and Penelope Steiner Family Foundation

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Four women lay together, holding each other tenderly.

Four Daughters

  Kaouther Ben Hania

  France, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Tunisia, Cyprus     107 minutes


A searing drama about mothers and daughters. An artistic tour-de-force that discovers powerful emotional truths in the tension between reality and fiction. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Documentary Prize, Four Daughters introduces us to Tunisian matriarch Olfa Hamrouni, a steely, wounded parent of four beautiful young women. Her two eldest daughters, as Olfa tells us early in the story, were “devoured by the wolf.”

Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania explores the family tragedy that continues to haunt Olfa and her family through staged reenactments and intimate scenes between Olfa, the actors playing her and her two eldest daughters, and her younger daughters as themselves. The result is a provocative and cathartic look at their complex relationships, their sisterhood of laughter, love, and rebellion, and the social, religious, and family conflicts that led to their devastation.

 Arabic with subtitles

Screenings & Events


Film Credits

  •   Nadim Cheikhrouha
  •   Eya Chikhaoui, Tayssir Chikhaoui, Olfa Hamrouni
  •   Tanit Films


Documentary Program Sponsors

Logo: WTTW (2019)Cynthia Stone Raskin


Wadjda is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, 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 try and raise the money herself. Soon enough, Wadjda’s plans are thwarted when she is caught running various schemes at school. Just as she is losing hope of raising enough money, she hears of a cash prize for a Koran recitation competition at her school. She devotes herself to the memorization and recitation of Koranic verses, determined to continue fighting for her dreams. Wadjda is the first feature length film to be shot completely in Saudi Arabia, as well as the first feature film made by a female Saudi director

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