Saudi actress and emerging filmmaker Fatima Al-Banawi is set to create a stance with her directorial debut in the upcoming Netflix film “Basma.” Focusing on the theme of mental health, this drama marks Al-Banawi’s entry into the realm of directing, as she takes on multiple roles—writer, director, and lead character, Basma.
The film, originally started as a screenplay by Al-Banawi, explores the story of a young Saudi woman, Basma, who returns to her hometown of Jeddah after pursuing studies in the United States. However, upon her return, she uncovers family secrets hidden from her. Confronted with the harsh reality of her father’s mental illness and fractured familial ties, Basma focuses on restoring the semblance of the home she once knew.
Passionate about bridging societal impact with artistic expression, Al-Banawi shared her insights on “Basma,” expressing, “There are seven billion versions of normal on this planet; I hope I managed to deliver one of them. After we finished filming Basma, I wondered whether there would be anything better than dreams coming true, and I realized the only thing better than that is to be able to dream.”
This latest endeavor adds another significant milestone to Al-Banawi’s career in the entertainment industry. Her breakout performance in “Barakah Meets Barakah” garnered global recognition in 2016, marking it as a Saudi submission to the Oscars.
Set to premiere on Netflix next year, “Basma” promises to highlight on crucial societal issues while showcasing Al-Banawi’s talent in storytelling and direction.