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Three Yemeni teenage girls enter an entrepreneurship competition but along the way encounter the hardships of a country marked by a broken educational system, joblessness and a threatening Al-Qaeda presence.


Fuad Al-Qrize (Writer), Leon Shahabian
9 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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It's homework time, but the lights are out yet again in Yemen's capital of Sana'a. Three girls, determined to get an education, decide enough is enough. Armed with an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of creativity, they find a solution to their study woes and address their country's weak economy and fledgling infrastructure in the process. Their idea? Solar powered lanterns. Set against the backdrop of a nation whose reputation includes being one of the worst places to be a woman, the poorest country in the Arab world, and a failed state, the film explores many of the drivers of Yemen's challenges: youth unemployment, drug abuse, and a struggling education system. Even worse, conflict between Al-Qaeda and Yemen's Houthi population threatens the girls' very lives. In Yemeniettes, teenage girls launch a business - taking on titles like CEO and Vice President - and defy the barriers of their traditional society, proving that age and gender constraints are no match for those seeking to ... Written by Layalina Prodcutions

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In a country without hope, what if three girls could inspire an entire nation to dream again?


Documentary | Drama

User Reviews

Uplifting in a way, but not an upbeat film
16 November 2015 | by Red-125See all my reviews

Yemeniettes (2014) is a one-hour documentary directed by Shawn David Thompson. The film follows the course of a courageous group of female Yemeni students, who manage to produce products that are ecologically sound and financially attractive. That's the uplifting part.

The depressing part is the situation for women in Yemen. The young women are surrounded by patriarchy everywhere they turn. Given what we learn about Yemen--unemployment, discrimination against women, and men almost universally chewing Qat, the situation is grim. (Qat is a plant that reduces hunger and acts as a stimulant that produces euphoria. Everywhere you look, there are men with a huge wad of Qat inside their cheek.)

You would think that the government of Yemen would be happy to honor and encourage these young women, but that is not the way it works in Yemen. We see a problem so immense that it's hard to envision a happy ending.

The good news is that the movie won the Best Documentary Award at the High Falls Film Festival in Rochester, NY. We were able to see it on the large screen at the excellent Little Theatre. It will work well on the small screen.

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USA | Yemen



Release Date:

15 February 2014 (USA) See more »

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