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Fatimetu is born to a Sahrawi family in a Saharan refugee camp in Algeria and later sent to live with foster parents in Spain. After the death of her mother, she returns to the camp. She has been absent for sixteen years. Her brother now expects her to stay and look after her sister Hayat, who has difficulty walking. Fatimetu, who unlike the other women can drive a car, finds work transporting animals, meat, and bread from one administrative district to another. In time, the Sahrawi people become accustomed to the woman who tears about the desert without a hijab in her beaten up jeep. But Fatimetu is torn between life in the desert and her memories of her family and friends in Spain.
With unprecedented access to the Sahrawi community, Pedro Pérez Rosado, provides a voice to this unrepresented group of refugees and their struggle for independence. The outstanding performance of newcomer Nadhira Mohamed, who was herself born in a refugee camp in Tinduf, landed her the Best Actress award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
“With a strong insider’s eye for detail (it’s clear that Pérez Rosado’s love and concern for the region is genuine), the pic is always thought-provoking in its exploration of themes relating to exile and how it distorts selfhood, and to the clash between modernity and tradition.” – Jonathan Holland, VARIETY
“Featuring terrific widescreen cinematography by Miguel Morales (Solitary Fragments) and a captivating score by Sahwari singer Aziza Brahim (who plays a neighboring widowed mother), the film boasts enough technical prowess to capture the muted, semi-nomadic lifestyle of its characters.” – Jordan Mintzer, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“Wilaya offers insight into a little-publicized world, and derives most of its dramatic pull from the charismatic presence of lead actress Nadhira Mohamed.” – SCREEN DAILY
“The audience enjoyed this film very much. It is beautifully filmed and provides so much deep conversation. The film took audience members a while to process, particularly due to the two languages (Arabic and Spanish) as well as the cultural diversity AND socio-historic topic. We provided a brief introduction to the film to set all of this up and then held a long discussion afterward, particularly dealing with human rights, identity and gender.” - K. Angelique Dwyer, Assistant Professor of Spanish & Latin American Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College
Pedro Pérez Rosado was born in Petrés, Spain, in 1952. He took up studies in film aesthetics at Valladolid University in 1972. He has edited, written, produced and directed both documentaries and shorts. His first feature, Salt Water, was named Best Film at the Valencia Film Festival in 2006. His other films include The Ashes of the Volcano (2000), Stories from the War Saharaui (2004), and The Bad Woman (2008).
Berlin International Film Festival
Abu Dhabi Film Festival
- Best Actress, New Horizons
Málaga Spanish Film Festival
- Best Original Soundtrack
Havana Film Festival