Fatima Albanawi is an internationally acclaimed actress and storyteller whose starring role in the feature Barakah Meets Barakah in 2016, was foundational for Saudi cinema. From a naive newlywed in Going South short film, and a Parisian actress from the 70's in the feature film Roll'em, to a selfish theatre superstar in Bashar series, Al-Banawi's cinematic appearances continue to raise the bar and boost the industrialization wheel of this sector in her country.
In 2020, she wrote and directed her first short film Until We See Light. The short is part of an Omnibus feature film that was made in collaboration with the Red Sea International Film Festival. In the same year, Al-Banawi surprised both local and Arab audiences in what was considered a case study for filmmakers during Covid-19, when she co-wrote, co-directed and starred in Al-Shak serial drama, a Shahid.net original, which she shot fully from home during the global pandemic. Al-Banawi is working on her first feature screenplay, Basma, and her social memoir that she hopes to publish soon.
She also too part in Paranormal that achieved a huge success among audiences inside and outside the Arab world, premiering on Netflix.
She directed several performance pieces and theatre plays that toured internationally. From the first touring Biennale in the world inaugurated in Buenos Aires, to Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Al-Banawi travels locally and internationally to perform human stories. Though a challenging endeavor in a private society, she believes in the power of storytelling to channel vulnerable and intimate conversations, making the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris call her the (Sophie Calle of Saudi Arabia) after the great reception of her performance Amours Saoudiennes. This passion for psycho-social development and the arts is not new; it started in 2010 when Al-Banawi co-founded the Theatre of the Oppressed chapter in Jeddah and staged one of its plays at Harvard later on. In 2019, her theatre work as director and actress in The Straight Circle play has also caught attention and made headlines for surpassing the classic elite structure as it moved to the streets of the city.
Her role as a juror in film festivals and Bachelor in Psychology come to inform her screenwriting practice and infuse her films with intimacy and originality. Al-Banawi also holds a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard University and is the founder of The Other Story Project; a fusion that has allowed her to continue unearthing psychosocial themes creatively and made her a Next Generation Leader by Times Magazine in 2018. Today's leading actress opens the doors to her studio Alf Wad [Arabic for: A Thousand Valley], making it a hub to build and foster actors and filmmakers in the film community. She has been trained in the Undesirable Elements Theatre Method by Ping Chong & Company, in addition to Improv by both, Improv Playhouse of San Francisco and Lebanese award-winning director, Lucien Bourjeily, and in acting methods by both Luke Lehner Studios and member of the Actor's Studio in LA, Gerald James.
Currently, Fatima is shooting a new feature, Route 10 (working title), co-produced by MBC Studios and ImageNation and an upcoming film, Champions, that is produced by Aflam Almaha in collaboration with Lola Arabia. And recently, she has been selected as a jury member within the Feature Film Competition at the 11 edition of the Malmo Arab Film Festival. In addition, she has officially become the brand ambassador for the French luxury manufacturer Cartier International SNC.
She completed her master's degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University with extensive research on Arab Identity and Gender Representation in both, Film and Literature.
Official Website: fatimaalbanawi.com