The Poetess

The Poetess


The Saudi poetess Hissa Hilal made headlines around the world as the first woman to ever make it to the finals of “Million’s Poet”, an Abu-Dhabi based Million Dollar reality television show. It is the Arab world’s biggest poetry competition, and it is dominated by men. In her poems Hissa criticizes the patriarchal Arab society and she attacks one of the most notorious Saudi clerics for his extremist fatwas, live, in front of 75 million viewers.

Hissa Hilal is the voice from behind the veil: Her word is her weapon. We’ll never see Hissa’s face. Like the majority of Saudi women, Hissa is covered from head to toe. She is not allowed to drive a car. She doesn’t own a passport. And she requires consent from her husband for any sort of activity. But then, coming out of nowhere, Hissa is suddenly breaking news in the biggest Western and Arab media. How did she gain the knowledge and the courage to step on stage and risk her life?


Tagesanzeiger  Daily Newspaper (Swiss/German)

Interview with Hissa | Published in Der Bund


(90min), 2017, Co-Director
Premiered at Locarno, Semaine de la critique.


Dok Leipzig, Idfa Best of Fests, Mostra Sao Paulo, Dubai Film Festival, HRFF Zürich, HRFF London, CPH:DOX Copenhagen, DocPoint Helsinki, All About Freedom Poland, DokAviv Israel, OneWorld Prague, Sydney Film Festival among others.


Mirjam Wiekenkamp & Dagny Kleber
+49 30 41723030