Lebanese Filmmaker’s Heartfelt Film About Saudi Women Driving Is Being Featured Worldwide

Walid Chaya

A short film by Lebanese-American director-actor Walid Chaya is making a scene in prestigious film festivals around the world.

Based in Los Angeles, Chaya is an award-winning director featured in many publications, such as Voyage LA, Vents Magazine, Fox, AP, and more.

He graduated with a B.F.A. in Performance with Magna Cum Laude honors from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, VA. He is currently actively working in film and TV as well as coaching and consulting performers.

His 2018 film, Driving Ms. Saudi, is an Official Selection in over a dozen film festivals, including the Dubai Independent Film Festival and the St. Louis International Film Festival where it was picked by critics as one of “11 Must-See Movies”.

It also screened at the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival, the Verona International Film Festival, the Miami Independent Film Festival, and many more.

Chaya directed and starred in this short film as the son who helps his Saudi mother who panics about being behind the wheel for the first time.

He was inspired to write the award-winning short film when women were finally allowed to drive in KSA.

Reflecting on his Middle Eastern background, Chaya says he feels that it is his duty to shed light on stories from the Middle East.

His film has garnered a number of accolades, including the “Best Comedy Short” in the World Of Women (WOW) Film Fair Middle East. Chaya also took home the “Best Short Film” award at the Asia South East Short Film Festival.

This month, Driving Ms. Saudi will screen at the Cairo Indie Shorts Festival where it may be considered for additional awards.

Watch the trailer for the short film below:


Our team works tirelessly to ensure Lebanese people have a reliable alternative to the politically-backed media outlets with their heavily-funded and dangerous propaganda machines. We've been detained, faced nonstop cyber attacks, censorship, attempted kidnapping, physical intimidation, and frivolous lawsuits draining our resources. Financial support from our readers keeps us fighting on your behalf. If you are financially able, please consider supporting The961's work. Support The961. Make a contribution now.