Sony Classics Buys Saudi Film ‘Wadjda’

"Wadjda" is the first film ever shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and the first Saudi film from a female director; SPC plans a 2013 release

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all North American rights to "Wadjda," a landmark drama that is both the first feature ever made by a female director from Saudi Arabia, and the first film ever shot entirely within the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

WadjdaThe film from writer-director Haifaa Al-Mansour deals with a 10-year-old Saudi girl who is determined to buy a bicycle, despite Saudi traditions that make such a purchase difficult.

SPC co-presidents first saw the film at the Telluride Film Festival, where it had its North American premiere.

The company plans a 2013 theatrical release.

"Wadjda" was produced by the Berlin-based Razor Films, which also worked with SPC on "Waltz With Bashir."

“I come from a small town in Saudi Arabia, a country where showing movies in public is illegal," Hairaa Al-Mansour said in a statement. "To write and direct the first film ever to be shot inside Saudi Arabia, with one of the leading companies in Europe, Razor Films, was beyond my wildest dreams. To premiere my film at the Venice Film Festival was even more incredible, and now to have Sony Classics bring the film to North America, the place from where I first saw the power and emotional possibilities of film, is beyond anything I ever could have imagined.”