For the past twenty years, as a visual artist and a filmmaker, I have been exploring diverse concepts and narratives in relation to Muslim women. I have been developing my new feature film project based on the art and life of the legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum (1902-1975), whose music and larger-than-life persona

is still in the hearts of millions of Middle Easterners. Similarly to my previous film WOMEN WITHOUT MEN, this film pursues the trajectory of an iconic woman while offering a non-academic look into the history of modern Egypt.

My journey into this project began with research and the collection of images and literature written about Oum Kalthoum and Egyptian history. Finally, I decided not to make a historical biopic but to tell a personal story, sharing my own perspectives and challenges as an Iranian woman director attempting to make a film about an iconic Egyptian singer. The current script therefore closely reflects my own obsessions, challenges, and unexpected self-discovery by looking into the destiny of an iconic Middle Eastern female artist, I’m looking at my own experience, and that of other Middle Eastern women who choose to pursue a talent or a professional career. At the core of this film, through the simultaneous exploration of three main female characters, Oum Kalthoum, Mitra (the Iranian filmmaker,) and Ghada (the Egyptian actress, who plays the role of Oum Kalthoum,) the narrative reveals how most Middle Eastern women, living in male dominated societies, face similar predicaments.