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VEILED AMBITION

Year: 2006

Classification: Exempt - Ronin Recommends: G

Runtime: 26 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Celeste Geer

Produced By: Jeni McMahon

Language: English

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Frida is a young Australian-Lebanese woman with a thick Aussie accent and a dream of creating her own fashion empire. When she wins $4000 in a radio competition, Frida opens a shop in Sydney Road Coburg, hoping to create a fashion Mecca for Islamic women. But business in burkas is slow. Frida is forced to take a second job to pay the rent but just as she is about to abandon her dreams, inspiration strikes. With creditors knocking at her door, Frida ditches the slow selling hijabs to make room for a glamorous range of Hollywood styled gowns. Frida’s spirits lift and once again success is on her agenda until her new husband Albert asks her to move to Sydney where he is building a dream home for their future family.

Albert is captivated by Frida’s ambition and drive but he also has his own dreams of making it as a big time boxing promoter. Albert is planning to stage the ‘Biggest Fight in the History of International Boxing Ever’ (or as his colleague quickly qualifies, ‘for a while’). Sharing Frida’s entrepreneurial zeal, Albert hatches a plan to introduce a fashion parade featuring Frida’s clothes into the World Title Fight. Sequins have never packed such a punch! For the moment, the big dreams of both partners are sustaining the long distance relationship between Frida and Albert (whose work on the new house has slowed to a halt.)

Albert’s parents are anxious for their only son to start a family. From the veranda of their family home in Roselands Sydney, they can look across the road to the half finished house Albert is building for Frida. During Ramadan Frida pays Albert and his family a visit, inspecting Albert’s progress on the house and delivering news of her pregnancy. Everyone is thrilled about the baby, especially Frida. But being pregnant won’t slow her down. The thought of having a baby only adds a sense of urgency to Frida’s empire building agenda.

Frida returns to Melbourne to find that sales have taken an unexpected dip due to circumstances beyond her control. Anti-Muslim backlash resulting from massive police raids conducted throughout Muslim homes in Sydney and Melbourne is bad for business. If she is going to get greater exposure in the non-muslim community Frida will have to take a gamble and invest some money in a marketing campaign. In a final attempt to achieve her goal of creating a successful fashion label, Frida choses to stage a fashion parade at the ‘Australian Bridal Expo’ a month before her baby is due.

Hormones are running hot and anxiety is high as Albert flies down from Sydney to help Frida prepare for the fashion parade and perhaps more importantly, the birth of their first child.

With passion, humour and relentless stamina this “little aussie battler in a scarf” negotiates her long distance romance and the dramas that ensue when couture and cultures collide.

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