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Khadija al-Salami

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Khadija Al-Salami (2016).
Khadija Al-Salami (2016).

Khadija al-Salami (born November 11th, 1966, in Sana'a, Yemen[1]), is the first Yemeni female film producer and director[2]. Al-Salami resides in Paris, France.

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Early Life and Education

At an early age, al-Salami was sent to live with relatives after her mother divorced her father over severe domestic abuse. At age 11, she was forced by her grandmother into an early marriage and was raped by her husband.[3] This was something that confused her as a young girl but realized as she got older that it was part of the tradition she grew up in and that it was not because her family did not love her.[4] Some weeks later, after much protest and disobedience such as trying to commit suicide, her husband returned her to her uncle, who immediately disowned her and returned her to her single mother. She escaped the immense family and society pressure by finding employment with the local television station and simultaneously attending school in the mornings which was her only output for happiness.[2] At the age of 16, she received a scholarship to finish secondary school in the United States. Subsequently, she enrolled at the Mount Vernon College for Women, in Washington, D.C. After a period in Yemen and Paris, she returned to Washington to earn her Master's degree in communications at the American University. For her thesis, she produced her first film.


Her first feature film, which was entirely shot in Yemen, “I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.” The film recounts the true story of Nujood Ali, Yemen’s most famous child bride, who was married off at ten and filed for divorce in court. Al-Salami did not want to tell only Nujood’s story, but also her own and that of many other Yemeni child brides because this allows other young girls to understand the effects of these marriages.[2] It was al-Salami's first feature fiction film.[2] Unlike most of her films since she currently resides in Paris, this one was only shot in Yemen.[2] This movie won her the best feature film at the Dubai International Film Festival and was also shown at other festivals.[2] In 2016 her film, I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced, became the first Yemeni film to be submitted for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards. She has been making her own documentaries for quite some time like her most recent one called The Scream (2013) which is a documentary about the Yemen's uprising that happened in 2011 and what women did during this uprising.[2] She had many works like this such as her documentary A Stranger in her Own City (2005) which is a documentary about exile and how home can keep you trapped with the traditions around it.[5] Al-Salami has even stated that in her film A Stranger in her own City was "never aired on Yemeni television as they were not used to such controversial subject matter".[5] She had created this film through the own pain she had experienced with arranged marriage as well as the experience of a young girl by the name of Najmia who was 13 years old at the time.[5] She enjoyed filming her because of her carefree spirit and of how she had reminded al-Salami at her age.[5] Another film that was important in her career was I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced (2014) and this was because it was the first film of hers to be a feature fiction film.

Since then, al-Salami has produced several documentaries for various television networks in France and Yemen. The primary focus of her documentaries is on women, possibly as a reflection of her life experience. She has also co-authored with her current husband, the American Charles Hoots, an autobiography, The Tears of Sheba.

Al-Salami currently serves as Press and Cultural attaché and Director of the Yemeni Information Centre at the Embassy of Yemen in Paris.


Awards and Nominations

Festival Year Award Category and/or Film
Dubai International Film Festival 2014 Muhr Award- Winner Best Feature Film: I am Nujood, Age 10, and Divorced (2014)[6]
Dubai International Film Festival 2006 Muhr Award- Winner Best Documentary- Silver: Amina (2006)[6]
Vesoul Asian Film Festival 2006 Youth Award- Winner Une étrangère dans sa ville (2005)[6]
Vesoul Asian Film Festival 2005 Youth Award- Nominee Les femmes et la démocratie au Yémen (2003)[6]


  1. ^ Hillauer, Rebecca (2006-02-02), "Other Filmmakers", Encyclopedia of Arab Women Filmakers, American University in Cairo Press, pp. 421–448, ISBN 9789774249433, retrieved 2018-10-18
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Khadija al-Salami, a Yemeni Child Bride Who Became a Diplomat". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  3. ^ "The most 500 powerful Arabs". Arabian Business. 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  4. ^ Vollen, Bjorn (15 July 2016). "Child marriage and the power of mental models". Behavioral Development Economics.
  5. ^ a b c d Aspden, Rachel. "Eastern Eyes". newstatesmen.
  6. ^ a b c d Brunning, Dennis. " and IMDB Pro". CC Advisor. Retrieved 2018-10-18.

External Links

This page was last edited on 19 October 2018, at 00:09
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