"It gave me more space to say things. There's curiosity – it is fresh when you tell if from a child's point of view," she says. And while critics are raving about its artistic strengths, framing "Wadjda" from a young girl's perspective had its logistical benefits too.
"As I am older, I have to be in the van because I am not allowed to be in the streets," al-Mansour says. "But the girl can run, can be in the streets. So if I am locked in there, at least she can run and I can film her."
"Wadjda," 97 minutes, opens nationwide on Friday, Sept. 20. It opened in limited release in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 13.