Source: Instagram

Saudi director Reem Al-Bayyat has been named Best Director at the Madrid International Film Festival. 

Al-Bayyat took home the award for her film Wake Me Up in the Short Foreign Language Film category at the festival, which is currently taking place in the Spanish capital until July 28.

The film, as does most of her work, highlights the struggles facing women in the Saudi kingdom. 

In Arabic dialogue, Wake Me Up tells the story of a woman who, amid a mid-life crisis, tries to rekindle her passion for dancing, only to face society's judgments and a sense of guilt. 

The short film, which premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2016, features the director's sister Samar Al-Bayyat, Saudi actor and poet Ibrahim Al-Hsawi, along with Saudi actress and filmmaker Ahd Kamel.

Reem Al-Bayyat directed the film, wrote the script and co-wrote the screenplay, while Ahmed Al-Shayb handled its production.

The film was endorsed by the Emirati Enjaaz Film Fund, which provides Arab filmmakers with post-production financial support.

Meet Reem Al-Bayyat

Reem Al-Bayyat poses with "Wake Me Up" poster Source: Instagram

The 35-year-old director, filmmaker and photographer holds British degrees in photography and film directing. Her filmography includes Doll (2010) and Shadows (2008), which have been screened at international film festivals in Muscat, Mumbai, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Paris. 

Al-Bayyat does not shy away from bold and pressing topics, especially those affecting Saudi and Arab women, such as forced marriage, which she addresses in her film Doll

Saudi's female filmmakers are taking the world by storm

Haifa Al-Mansour Source: Wikipedia

Al-Bayyat is far from being the only accomplished female director in the kingdom, which still enforces a ban on cinemas.

42-year-old Haifa Al-Mansour became the first female Saudi director years ago. Her feature debut, Wadjda, was the first full-length feature to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first-ever Saudi film to be submitted to the Oscars.  

Al-Mansour has since paved the way for several Saudi women to take on directing and filmmaking, such as director Gigi Hozimah.

Hozimah, who is mostly known for her film He Belongs to Usholds a masters degree in filmmaking from Kingston University in England. She has co-founded her very own production company, Look At The Wall Productions.