Push for funding to get Speed Sisters film on the road
It’s a story that has already caught the attention of the media but filmmakers working on a documentary about an all-woman team of racing drivers in Palestine need funding to complete the project.
Director Amber Fares has been working on the Speed Sisters film with Rachel Wexler and Rebecca Day from Bungalow Town Productions for the past two years, following the progress of a remarkable group of women who have formed the first all-female racing team in the Middle East.
Aged between 20 and 35, Marah Zahalka, Noor Daoud, Mona Ennab and Betty Saadeh, and their manager Maysoon Jayyousi, have been making their mark in the male-dominated streetcar-racing scene in the occupied West Bank, Palestine (see WVoN stories).
“People often have this idea of the Middle East that it’s like Saudi Arabia where women aren’t allowed to drive,” says Fares. “In Palestine, women have been very active in civil society, so it’s not so unusual - people don’t see it as so out of the realm of possibility that they are racing.
“If we look at our own society, we look at women who take up motor sports and say ‘wow’ and in the same way, when I tell young Palestinian women about it they are really inspired and feel proud that women are racing.”
To help them to continue to follow the women as they pursue their ambitions Fares and her colleagues have launched a fundraising campaign. The cash will also help get a story of a little-seen aspect of Palestinian life onto the big screen.
“They are extremely independent, colourful, strong-willed, loving and funny as hell. Racing is really the hook to get into their lives and show a different view of the Middle East.”
The film chronicles how the women navigate the pressures of social expectations and family dynamics and also how Israel’s military occupation and politics impact their daily lives. But it’s not a film where the occupation is “the main character” insists Fares.
“This group of women are remarkable, irrespective of being in Palestine,” says Fares. “They are adrenaline junkies, they like the thrill of it, they like the freedom and being in control and that’s something Palestinians have very little of.”