Selma in Tataouine
BY NESSIM STEVENSON
In the south of Tunisia there is a small city called Tataouine. On the fringe of the Sahara and surrounded by rocky mountains dotted with ancient cave houses, it’s no surprise that this was the place that inspired George Lucas to create Tatooine, the home planet of Anakin and Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films.
We were there to film a very different sort of film, a short documentary about a local initiative, supported by USAID, that has encouraged 6,000 women in rural Tunisia to vote for the first time. One of these women was Selma, a matriarch to her family, a fierce leader in her community, and the protagonist of our film. During the production we stayed at her home, filming her busy daily life; from gathering fresh water from a well at the top of a nearby mountain at dawn, to washing the family’s clothes in the courtyard in evening.