Spring Grant 2013
Current project status: Production
The year is 2004. France has passed a law banning religious symbols in public schools. Mariam, born in France to Arab parents, recently began to wear the hijab after performing the hajj with her grandmother. At the start of the academic year, she pretends the new law does not exist, as she does not want to acknowledge it and so be forced to make a decision. To complicate matters, Sami, a popular young Arab boy in school, starts paying attention to her and she develops a powerful crush on him. While her fellow veiled classmates argue with teachers about their desire to keep wearing the hijab, and her parents argue about her wearing hers, Mariam dreams of Sami, despite her best friend Sophia’s warning that he is not serious. Things come to a head when the deadline for removing the hijab or facing expulsion falls the same week Mariam sees Sami with another girl.
- Faiza Ambah
- Faiza Ambah
- Jérôme Bleitrach
About the Director
Faiza Ambah is a Saudi filmmaker with a background in journalism. She was Gulf Correspondent for ‘The Washington Post’ before leaving in 2009 to focus on filmmaking. Her scripts have been supported by the Sundance Institute through the Rawi Screenwriter’s Lab in Jordan, the Dubai International Film Festival and the Doha Film Institute. She was a jury member at the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai in 2013 and organised a festival of Gulf Films at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, France the same year. She is currently in post-production for her medium-length film, ‘Mariam’, which was shot in France. Ambah has a feature-film writing certificate from UCLA extension and has taken directing courses at the Cinematic Arts School at the University of Southern California and the New York Film Academy.
Production Company Profile
Established in 1998, Bizibi is a French production company run by Jérôme Bleitrach and Emmanuel Agneray. Bizibi has produced eight features films, which have been selected for major festivals. The company’s debut feature ‘Or mon trésor’ won the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. Talents are developed through making short films, of which the company has produced more than 40 in the past 15 years. They include Ahd’s ‘Sanctity’, which was in competition at the Berlinale last year. The company alsoproduces documentaries.