Farida Khelfa, the Algerian-French former model and documentary filmmaker, is breaking barriers. She’s been a model since her youth, and only recently has she decided to take on filmmaking. Khelfa has paved the way for generations of Arab and Muslim women who would like to be a part of the fashion and entertainment business. However, now as a filmmaker, she’s also making way for other Muslim and Arab women through her movie, From The Other Side of The Veil, celebrating women in the Middle East.
While Farida’s parents are both Algerian, she was born in France, and has visited Algeria a number of times, as well as multiple other Arab countries. Khelfa has met several strong and fierce women who are business owners and Harvard graduates. While she was in Jeddah, she met women designers, and during her visit in Dubai for Fashion Week, she met a lot of interesting and talented female writers, artists, and actresses.
From The Other Side of The Veil
Khelfa is a Muslim woman who has spent her life in the Western world, and was fed a specific narrative about Arab and Muslim women. After meeting Arab women firsthand, she noticed a lot of stereotypes that were spread about them. Farida Khelfa then decided that she would use her platform and filmmaking to truly show Arab women to the world. They are not inferior victims as Western culture makes them out to be. They are independent, and try to make their way into the world, and Farida vows to show her viewers a new perspective on this.
“I immediately realized that it was important for me to make a documentary about these women because nobody would have believed there were women like that in Saudi Arabia. That was not my first visit to Saudi Arabia, but it is when I decided to come back and film,” Khelfa said.
Her goal is to dismantle the misunderstandings and infamous stereotypes about women in the Middle East, and her movie focuses on just that, as it features women sharing their unique experiences on being successful fighters. From The Other Side of the Veil sheds light on ambitious and passionate Middle Eastern women, trying to make their way in life. The film gives a chance for these women to share their stories and address the inaccurate representation of Arab women, and will be available to watch on YouTube in July.