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Underneath The Fig Tree

Fall Grants 2023 - Production Stage

Nada Bedair / Short Narrative / Egypt, United States of America, Qatar / 15 min / Original Language: Arabic / Interests: Drama


The weekend before school starts in early September, a family of three, Protagonist Layla (13-14), Mama (early 50s), and Baba (mid-50s), go on a road trip from Alexandria to Marsa Matruh in Egypt, both Mediterranean cities. During their drive to the beach town, Layla gets her period for the first time. In this community, this is when a girl is deemed a woman and is expected to start wearing the headscarf and segregate from men. The moment Layla is considered a “woman”, her body no longer feels like her own as her family decides that she must wear the headscarf. Layla struggles to find her identity during this abrupt transition in her life as she starts exploring her newly developing feelings as well. Ironically, her mother is also on her own identity-search journey as she uncovers truths about her marriage that question the patriarchal structure that she grew up learning and is now passing on to her daughter.


Nada Bedair
Nada Bedair
Nada Bedair, Maryam Mir

About the Director

Nada Bedair is a BAFTA scholar and an award-winning Egyptian filmmaker based in New York. She is currently completing her MFA in film at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Her work was featured in various film festivals, including Palm Springs ShortFest, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and New York International Children’s Film Festival. She is passionate about social justice, particularly gender and racial equality. She aspires to empower women of colour by portraying strong female Muslim Egyptian characters in her work as a filmmaker.

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