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Highlights​ from a life..

Showreel (2016-2018)

November 27, 2018

In 2016, Fatima became internationally recognized for her debut in the award winning, Saudi’s submission to the Oscars, feature film, Barakah Meets Barakah. She then continued in this field as an instinctive response to her natural aptitude for acting, with an incentive to reshape the public narrative about Saudi society and human relations, as we find her playing new roles in new productions (Bashar, Roll'em, Going South, and A Blink of an Eye).

Telling Saudi Stories

October 09, 2018

Fatima Al-Banawi is selected by Time Magazine as part of this year's Young Generation Leaders list (2018) - a series about young people who are changing the world - for her work with personal stories that offer a portrait of Saudi society at its most intimate, ranging from angry screeds to heartfelt confessions to wry meditations on life, love, family and identity. Two years and 5,000 submissions later, al-Banawi is publishing a book, in Arabic and English, that displays the original handwritten submissions with a sociological commentary.

Amours Saoudiennes at Palais de Tokyo

April 05, 2018

With an aim to realize our shared humanity, The Other Story Project engages the public through the art of storytelling and gathers thousands of A4, anonymous, and handwritten stories from its home base, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Today, artist and project creator Fatima Al-Banawi, conveys to Paris "Amours Saoudiennes," in the project’s third performance piece, and the first to take place outside of the stories' home country. In yet a new attempt to revive the celebrated Arab oral tradition, she invites her audience to a theatrical recital traveling through public and private spheres, communication barriers, and the notion of "having found and having lost," around a chandelier of love stories.

Resident Artist at Cité Internationale des Arts

January 13, 2018

It's been two months since the Cultural Service at the French Consulate in Jeddah and the Institut Français sent me to Cité Internationale des Arts as a resident artist in Paris. It's my very pleasure to share with you the fruit of this residency with my new performance piece, titled: "Amours Saoudiennes." 
"Amours Saoudiennes" is the third performance piece stemming from my two year old project: The Other Story, and the first to take place outside of the stories' home country, Saudi Arabia.

In yet a new attempt to realize our shared humanity, I shed light in this intimate theatrical recital, on testimonies of love that I carry to you from my hometown, Jeddah. "Amours Saoudiennes" will be performed 9 times as part of Palais de Tokyo's annual Do Disturb Festival held between the 6th and 8th of April, 2018.

Short Film: A Blink of an Eye

February 07, 2018

As part of the The Other Story Project Performance Series, this piece, “A blink of an Eye,” part of the 2018 Hafez Gallery, presents five stories from the collection weaved together to address five normal lives that have changed or would change at a blink of an eye. Saying yes, changing a conviction, discovering a passion, saving a life, losing a voice; what else happens at a blink of an eye?


Artist: Fatima Al-Banawi
Name of Artwork: A Blink of an Eye 
Type: Video Installation
Original Stories: The Other Story Project 
Narrator & Performer: Fatima Al-Banawi

In Collaboration with Director Ali Al-Sumayin & DoP Moath Al-Thahry

Blog Post on most recurring Q&As

October 23, 2017

I wrote this blog after experiencing the stage and people's curiosity when it came to Saudi Arabia and its people! Cinema is one of the many ways that societies can employ to breakdown social misconceptions. Other tools, such as books, intercultural dialogue forums, formal education, travel, and natural human interactions, can be combined to complement the process. These tools can simultaneously shed light on varied social representations, realities, and forms of being, and allow for a deeper realization of our shared humanity. I have learned so much from watching films myself. Since childhood, films offered a panoramic view about the world, helped form a connection between myself - a person laying on a sofa in a living room in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia - to people across the map, they triggered my curiosity to ask and be interested, and facilitated an exchange of traditions and cultures.

Fellowship | United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

September 30, 2017

Twelve emerging leaders from the MENA region were selected to travel for the duration of three weeks to the United States, Germany, France, and Spain. Equally so, another twelve emerging leaders from Europe and the United States were selected to travel for another three weeks to Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Qatar. During this respective trip, besides addressing issues related to intercultural dialogue, both cohorts took part in activities and discussions focusing on the theme: “The role of media and civil society in combatting hatred and fostering inclusion”.


Bashar Series

August 06, 2017

I participated in the long awaited captivating theatre episode in this new to town drama, starring Ebrahim Al Hessawi, Khaled Sager, Ali Al-Sharif, Summer Shesha, and many more. Bashar Series presents a series of independent episodes with different scripts, actors, and sets; it is an unordinary series depicting the stories of ordinary people living ordinary lives - but the world is full of reluctant everyday heroes.

Netflix Invites MENA Girlbosses

June 07, 2017

My work of art for Netflix MENA! Netflix MENA invited 30 women content creators from the region, whom I was honored of being amongst, to create a piece inspired by their favorite Netflix woman character: Cause women are not only heroes on screen, but off screen too. 
Picky as I can be, I finally returned to my favorite Zoe Barnes. She's not The Star in House of Cards, but she's the storyteller, and this was more than satisfying for me. 
At a time where narratives are blurry and facts are distorted, we need stories, just simple stories, to remind us of who we are to ourselves and to the universe.
I also chose Zoe Barnes because she passed away; I have come to learn & grow so much from the concept of death, from those who departed, and metaphorically too, from those on the margins of the main stories.
• • •
🎥 A series of those short videos of me were shot in Luxor's desert in 2016, by @pfargues • Paul's eye for detail & landscape, portrayed in this clip, was certainly an inspiration for my work for Netflix MENA.

The Other Story Project has a WEBSITE!

April 16, 2017

We've worked a lot to make this an easy to surf website, and an enriching experience. Remember The Other Story Project collects real life stories and personal experiences from people and creates from them works of art, performances, self-discovery & storytelling workshops, podcasts, illustrations, and a soon to be book. Today, the collection has up to 1000 story. Visit the website to read more.

Narrating Nike's Celebration of Pioneering Spirits

February 17, 2017

Nike’s “What will they say about you?” campaign launches with a new film highlighting five remarkable women who have achieved personal success through competitive and amateur sport. Despite concerns or criticism, these women hope that the world will say they’re pioneers, role models and strong voices for their region. The film features both professional and everyday athletes from the Arab region, including Parkour Trainer, Amal Mourad; Figure Skater, Zahra Lari; Pop Singer; Balquees Fathi; Fencer, Inès Boubakri; and Boxer, Arifa Bseiso.  Narration is done by Fatima Al-Banawi, a Saudi Arabian social researcher, artist, and actress.

The Other Story Project grows around town...

January 07, 2017

The Other Story Project was selected out of about 120 participating booths at Basta Market in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to be featured on Rotana Khalijia. The event, which brings together hundreds of visitors every Friday, marks one of the first public markets in Jeddah. 

Blog Post on Spotlight Anxieties

September 30, 2016

After returning to Jeddah from our North American Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, I begin having a series of, of course, jet lag episodes, accompanied by anxiety attacks and an interesting reoccurring dream, so I write. I write about it all. I begin with my childhood blushing, to the black SUV, the fans, and premiere spotlights, to fame and its anxieties, to social media, its cold screen, and the longing for simple pleasures, to rewriting my dreams and trying to go back to sleep.


September 28, 2016

"Rather than break down barriers and throw bombs at taboos, Barakah Meets Barakah chooses a humor of clever restraint, rare for any first feature." Once again after the Berlinale, David D'arcy continues in his second piece on Barakah Meets Barakah: "Besides some deft treatment of local taboos, Columbia alum Mahmoud Sabbagh’s feature debut also introduces the appealing and delightful comedienne, Fatima Al Banawi. Seek this film out if you can. It’s filled with surprises – how could it not be ? – plus the promises of surprises to come from the director and his cast."

On Our Way to The Oscars

August 23, 2016

Mahmood Sabbagh's crowd-pleasing film, Barakah Meets Barakah, debuted to largely positive reviews at the Berlin Film Festival in February (check out the trailer by clicking on the photo). A candid love story, shot in Jeddah, and stars Hisham Fageeh and Fatima Al Banawi as the young would-be couple Barakah and Bibi.

Arab News's take on The Other Story Project

August 18, 2016

..."But there is one young woman with a project that is innovative and inspiring, it’s also a welcoming breath of fresh air taking the participant in the project away from all that is distracting; just you, an empty page of paper and a pen. Fatima Al-Banawi’s “The Other Story” is a project that is breaking some taboos and giving you the participant a chance to zone out and write a story, any story, as long as it’s something. Arab News interviewed Fatima, an inspirational mindset that is out to hear your story and mine."

A Nerdy Talk with MSTDFR

July 27, 2016

Ammar Sabban & Rami Taiba of MSTDFR hosted me, as the Story Collector of The Other Story Project. We engaged in a conversation about storytelling and the impact stories have on our personal and cultural narratives. We also spoke about my acting role in Barakah Yoqabil Barakah. Those two guys are good conversationalists! 

P.S. This episode was also featured on Sabah Al Khair Ya Arab on MBC Channel, check them out there too!

Interview with Design Magazine

April 21, 2016

Interviewed by Design Magazine on Social Art and my acting role in Barakah Yoqabil BarakahThis interview, in Arabic, speaks about my passion for social art as a way toward social impact & my larger quest for development. 

Blog Post on Death & Living

January 26, 2016

Wrote a new Blog Post. This post touches on the idea of death, and how an experience with death, whether it be your own or of a loved one, channels you toward an opportunity for personal growth. 

Muftah Magazine Article

January 11, 2016

Published an article under Muftah Magazine's Collection 'Invisible Communities.' The article, "A Woman’s Intifada against Domestic Abuse in Saudi Arabia," is nothing but the least I could do, to highlight one of my almost forgotten experiences in fighting domestic violence in Southern Jeddah. It's an attempt to share a glimpse of the strong and determined, yet invisible and shattered, voices of abused women.

Sand Magazine Article

November 27, 2015

Published an article in Sand Magazineon "The Sounding Experience with the Qur'an." In it, I attempted to challenge stagnant understandings of the text through the act of listening. Sand is 'The magazine for the modern Arab Woman Editor in Chief, Nada Abdul Ghaffar and Creative Director, Bayan Abdul Lateef' Its first issue showed the work of photographers, writers, creators, and designers.

Consultancy at the Islamic Development Bank

October 17, 2015

Began working as a Consulant at the Islamic Development Bank, for the duration of six months. My assignment includes the developing of a policy for the advancement of women empowerment in the IDB and its member countries.

* The vision stems from the concept of gender mainstreaming, through which women's and men's needs are met and are integral to all work processes and projects in all 56 member countries. 

Berlim Film Festival: HERE WE COME!

February 11, 2016

Performed in a Saudi feature film for the Director: Mahmood Sabbagh. More updates soon.

TV Interview: Women's Beauty Standards

October 05, 2015

Participated in Nadine AlBedair's Etijahat Program, in a discussion with 1) Saudi Fashion Designer, Yahya Al-Bishri, 2) Psychotherapist, Madeha Al-Ajroush, 3) Cosmetic Surgeon, Mohammed Khan, and myself as introduced by Ms. Al-Bedair, 4) Specialist on women issues in Islamic societies. The episode also hosted a call with 5) Fatma Parker, a size acceptance campaigner and a Founder of Self-Esteem International. 

The Other Story | Project

August 23, 2015

Began collecting stories from people as the starting point for The Other Story Project. Stories bring us closer to each other, to the space we share, be it a cafe, a town, or a universe. Your story brings me closer to your, byt certainly to myself too. We can foster the human connection between us when we recognise who shares the space with us and what their story is.

The Other Story Project aims to collect on-the-go stories about the people, by the people, while keeping them 1) anonymous, and 2) handwritten. Hear the story of Jeddah, and join @theotherstoryproject on Instagram.

Harvard University Graduate

May 15, 2015

Completed my Masters Degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University. My area of focus is Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion, where I focused on the Islamic narrative in the Middle East region. You can read more about that as you go through the website (particularly under Academia).


Here is a photo of the crowd outside of Widener Library just left to where I was seated during commencement, and a link to the speech I delivered for the Harvard Arab Allumni Association.

Sufi Whirling in Bali

January 17, 2015

Last winter break in Bali, I attended a Sound Healing Session inspired by the Sufi tradition. I am hoping you can hear my whirling beats as you read through my words describing the experience.

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