The Muslim Shari’a courts in the Middle East have excluded women for centuries, and the influential religious legal system has never appointed a woman as a judge — until Kholoud Al-Faqih came along. The Palestinian lawyer tells her story in Erika Cohn’s new documentary “The Judge,” which will premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival. IndieWire has the first look at the trailer below.
Cohn’s film follows Al-Faqih through her ongoing advocacy for women’s rights, providing a closeup look at the way she navigates personal and professional struggles while working her way up through the court system. She’s driven by several causes at once. “If I can’t achieve justice for myself, I can’t achieve justice for others,” she says in the film. It’s no big spoiler to note that she’s successful in that goal, since she now goes by the title Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih.
The documentary is the second feature-length effort from Cohn, who co-directed the 2015 Independent Lens documentary “In Football We Trust.” Al-Faqih will join Cohn at the festival, where “The Judge” will premiere in the TIFF Docs section. The film is currently seeking distribution and being sold by Roco Films.
Watch the trailer for “The Judge” below: