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One on One
Haifaa Mansour
Meet the former television show host turned film-making activist, Haifaa Mansour.
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2008 12:43 GMT

Haifaa Mansour has been on the frontline of tackling taboo issues in Saudi Arabia.
It is tough to be a filmmaker in Saudi Arabia where many conservative Muslims shun movies as sinful. To be a female director is an even greater challenge.

Mansour attributes her strength of character to being one of a dozen children, and daughter of Abdul Rahman Al-Mansour, the the famous Saudi poet. She was the television host of More Than a Woman on the popular Lebanese channel, LBC, where she tackled sensitive issues and problems that affected Arab women.

For a Saudi to openly discuss topics such as the participation of women in politics, homosexuality, and mistreatment of women in the Saudi courts, was pushing the boundaries of debate well beyond what people in the region were used to.

Mansour has always been driven to taking on these issues as a filmmaker, a profession that was alien to most Saudis, especially as the kingdom does not have movie theatres and where many staunch conservatives shun bringing taboo subjects into the open.

The young movie director stirred up controversy with her films such as Women Without Shadows, Who? and The Bitter Journey.

Mansour raised even more eyebrows when she married an American diplomat in May 2007.

Even as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia looks to liberalise and modernise, Haifaa Mansour is always one step ahead in breaking new ground.

Watch part one of this episode

Watch part two of this episode

This episode of One on One aired from Friday, September 5, 2008


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