Yemeni child marriage film submitted to Oscars

#Culture

'I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced' to compete with 84 other entries in foreign film section

A still from the film shows Reyham Mohammed playing the title role as Nujoom Ali (YouTube)
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Last update: 
Monday 17 October 2016 14:27 UTC
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Yemen is submitting its first ever full-length movie entry to the Oscars this year, with a film telling the story of a 10-year-old girl fighting to divorce her much older husband.

I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced will compete alongside films from 84 other countries for the prize of Best Foreign Language Film at the 2017 Oscars.

The film is based on the real-life story of Nujood Ali, now 18, who was married to a man in his 30s when she was nine years old.

Based on a book by Ali, it tells the story of her escape two months after the arranged marriage, and her struggle to get a local judge to grant her a divorce in the absence of laws against child marriage.

It was directed by Khadija al-Salami, who herself experienced forced marriage at age 11.

The film was shot entirely on location in Yemen, before the start of a devastating war that has destroyed much of the essential infrastructure of a country that was already the poorest in the region.

It has previously won the 2014 Dubai International Film Festival prize for best fiction feature.

The UK is also submitting an entry – ghost film Under the Shadow was produced in London, but is set in Tehran with all its dialogue spoken in Farsi.

A longlist of nine entries will be announced in December, and a shortlist of five.

Al-Salami's film is not the first from Yemen to be nominated for the Oscars however.

Karama Has No Walls, a portrait of a day in Yemen's 2011 'Arab Spring' revolution directed by Sara Ishaq, was nominated in 2014 in the short documentary category.