Raed Alsemari

Abandoned by her domestic help, Dunya fights to throw the perfect graduation soirée

Saudi Arabia/USA | 14 minutes | 2018 | Color | DCP | Arabic (English Subtitles) 

Main Credits

Sara Balghonaim
Sarah Altaweel 

Written and directed by Raed Alsemari
Produced by Sarah Elnawasrah and Raed Alsemari

Director of Photography Olivier Theurillat
Production Designer Tamara Kalo
Costume Designer Lamya AlHazani

Co-producer Aya Hamdan
Editors Olivier Theurillat and Raed Alsemari

Director's Statement 

At its core, “Dunya’s Day” is about a woman’s relentless pursuit of status. Tired of seeing clichéd narratives of oppression that reduce Arab women to victims or saints, I set out to portray a flawed but fierce Arab woman who is neither.

While developing the central characters, it was exciting to draw from the archetypes of classic comedies like Heathers and Mean Girls, and to re-imagine those personalities in my hometown. From Riyadh to Brooklyn, I’ve encountered women and men who share Dunya’s obsessive need for social validation. 

Over time, I’ve learned to understand their motivations and – on some level –  to admire their tenacity.

Though I’m not proud of it, making this film led me to discover there may be a little bit of Dunya in myself. I wanted to ensure that my satirical approach would not compromise the character’s humanity. After committing to an “un-likable” protagonist, I worried about finding a performer who would internalize Dunya’s wants and insecurities without judgement. My doubts instantly disappeared when I saw Sara Balghonaim’s layered and loving take on the character.

Tech Specs

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1  | Camera: ARRI ALEXA Mini  | Lenses: ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphic Prime |

  Sound: Dolby Surround 5.1.1

Using Format