NYFA Alumna’s Award-Winning Doc Captures Saudi Arabian Culture

December 6, 2016

jameelahComing off of her documentary short film, “Historic Jeddah,” which screened at the International Film Festival Manhattan in 2015, One Year Filmmaking Conservatory Program and the Eight-week Filmmaking Workshop alumna Jameelah Rose Lineses directed a sequel documentary called “Our Journey to Hijaz.” The short film features never-before-seen footage depicting life in Saudi Arabia before the oil boom. It includes reenactments of how people used to live and features a Saudi traditional wedding and a sword dance.

“My inspiration in making both films ‘Historic Jeddah’ and ‘Our Journey to Hijaz’ was my mother,” said Lineses. “She was the one who motivated me to create films about Saudi Arabia’s history and cultural heritage. There are no films showcasing Saudi Arabia’s history and cultural heritage that have been recognized in any international film festival. There are so many stories to tell relating to Saudi Arabia’s history — stories that are not yet known to the rest of the world and that only a handful of people really know.”

Lineses’ sequel has been recognized by several film festivals thus far, including:

Film Festival Director Award for BEST STUDENT FILM
International Film Festival Manhattan 2013
New York City, New York, U.S.A

Ani Ng Dangal Presidential Awardee for Cinema
6th ANI NG DANGAL/Harvest of Honors 2014
National Commission for Culture and the Arts
Manila, Philippines

Most Popular IFFM Film Promo for “Historic Jeddah” (Saudi Arabia)
International Film Festival Manhattan 2015
New York City, New York, U.S.A

Honorable Mention for “Our Journey to Hijaz” (Saudi Arabia)
International Film Festival Manhattan 2016
New York City, New York, U.S.A

Lineses says that although she’s been living in Saudi Arabia for her entire life, there are still many things she doesn’t know about her country’s history and cultural heritage.

“It was only early last year when I started to learn about it on my own by attending cultural events and tours,” said Lineses. “I also discovered that my mother’s first sponsor — when she came to Saudi Arabia — was a member of the Naseef family.”


Naseef is one of the most prominent families in Saudi Arabia, and their ancestral house, Bayt Naseef, is now a museum, which is highlighted in her documentary.

“As a pioneer, I hope that I am able to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s promising future in the field of cinema,” Lineses says. “I also hope that I am able to give rise to aspiring Saudi filmmakers to do the impossible, break stereotypes, and to not shy away from adversities.”

She also hopes her documentaries will show that it is possible to make a film about Saudi Arabia and still uphold the country’s code of conduct.

Lineses is now working on another documentary, “Third Culture Kids of Saudi Arabia,” about the people born, raised and currently living in Saudi Arabia. “This film will tackle our everyday lives and show how we assimilate into society,” says Lineses.