On April 10, in the D.P. Culp University Center auditorium, the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts hosted their showing of the film “Speed Sisters.”
This documentary focuses on five different women as they go through racing tournaments in the Middle Eastern areas of Jordan, Jenin, Jericho and many others.
In the discussion following the film, director and producer Amber Fares said, “A couple of things inspired me to make this movie. One was when you come across a bunch of race car drivers anywhere in the world, I would suggest to make a movie about it, especially if there are a bunch of race car drivers in the middle of the West Bank.” She laughed and continued, “It was such a surprise to learn that these women existed so I decided to make a film about them.”
Though Fares admits her admiration for these women, her decision to document these Middle Eastern female drivers relates back to her own family ties.
“Another part that inspired me was my own background,” Fares said. “I’m Lebanese/Canadian, and I wanted to make a story that went beyond the headlines you see in the Middle East.”
Aside from the race car driving, another thing that was portrayed in the documentary was the struggles and tension of living in an area of occupation like the West Bank.
“There’s a level of frustration and madness because there’s nothing logical about it,” Fares said. “It’s very much like the car races. There are rules that are changing all the time and you don’t know what the game is and you don’t have any control over it.”
Fares also talked about how open countries are in the Middle East toward female drivers, which ironically contrasts with the American perspective of Middle Eastern culture.
“We’ve shown the film in most countries of the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, and the reaction to the film has been overwhelmingly positive, especially from people in the Middle East,” Fares said. “These girls in the movie are the first racing team, but they aren’t the first women in the Middle East to drive race cars.”
Overall, the audience enjoyed the movie, which let them get a glimpse into a new part of Middle Eastern culture that many have never heard of. While “Speed Sisters” ended on a positive note, the audience was still curious as to what happened to the girls after filming had ended.
Fares elaborated on the ending and gave her own version of the epilogue. “Noor is in Dubai, and she’s the only woman in the Middle East that is doing drift racing. Maysoon, her husband and their two kids moved back to Jerusalem. Mona decided not to race anymore. Betty is engaged, and Marah is training to be a driving teacher like her mom.”
“Speed Sisters” goes to show these women are real.
They’re women with their own personal lives and ambitions, and it’s inspiring to see these “Speed Sisters” defying the odds and going beyond the expected.