Saudi Arabian culture is focus of film, discussion April 29

April 25, 2014

A film that explores the rights of females in Saudi Arabia will be shown followed by discussion from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in room 110 of Jarvis Hall Science Wing at UW-Stout.

"Wadjda" is the story of a 10-year-old girl who wants to save money to buy a green bicycle so she can beat her friend, a boy, in a race. Bicycling, however, is considered taboo for girls in Saudi Arabia.

Unbeknownst to her parents, the determined girl enters a Koran-memorization competition with the intent of using her winnings to buy the bicycle.

"Wadjda" has won numerous awards and was the first feature-length film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and by a female Saudi Arabian director.

As part of the event, authentic Saudi Arabian food will be served. The event is free and open to the public. Parking in UW-Stout lots is free after 4 p.m.

UW-Stout has more than 100 students from Saudi Arabia, and they have been invited to participate, said Renee Howarton, director of the Nakatani Teaching and Learning Center on campus.

"We worked with the Office of International Education and faculty who have Saudi Arabian students. We want their voices to be heard, and we encourage all students to attend," Howarton said.

The Nakatani Teaching and Learning Center and the Film and Film Studies at Stout Community of Practice are hosting the event. The film studies group is made up of faculty interested in using films in the classroom that expand student understanding of course topics and also hosting public discussion events based on film screenings.

Three faculty will lead the discussion: Glenda Jones, English and philosophy; Tina Lee, social science; and Lama Othman, special education.

Co-sponsors are the Office of International Education, Honors College, Ally Center, Center for Applied Ethics and University Housing.