National Geographic Films Buys Documentary ‘Saudi Runaway’

Dave McNary

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National Geographic Documentary Films has bought the documentary “Saudi Runaway,” which follows a young woman in Saudi Arabia attempting to flee the country before her arranged marriage.

The deal was announced on Tuesday prior to “Saudi Runaway” screening at the Berlin Film Festival. Directed by Susanne Regina Meures, the movie had its premiere in the World Documentary Competition section at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Meures also wrote the pic and produced it with Christian Frei.

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The young Saudi woman used her cell phone to secretly document her claustrophobic existence and her flight to freedom. Working in close collaboration with Meures (whom she spoke with multiple times a day for months), the result is a view inside Saudi Arabia’s patriarchal culture.

“Muna is one of the strongest-willed and most courageous women I know,” Meures said. “Unprecedented, as a Saudi woman, Muna dares to speak up. She shares her pain and offers us a glimpse into a hidden world. Although the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is at the centre of world affairs, very few authentic images of life there exist. Muna’s story is of great urgency and relevance and essentially summarizes a human rights drama at its core.”

Meures made her directorial debut in 2016 with “Raving Iran,” which was shown at over 130 film festivals worldwide.

The deal was negotiated by Stefan Kloos for Rise and Shine World Sales and Jason Ishikawa for Cinetic on behalf of the filmmakers.

National Geographic Documentary Films previously released “Free Solo,” “LA 92,” “Jane,” “Hell on Earth” and “The Cave,” which was nominated this year for an Academy Award for best documentary feature.

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