Desert Flower

by Sherry Hormann

Desert Flower


A corridor at the UN Headquarters in New York. A young woman is trying to pull herself together: Waris Dirie is about to hold her first speech to the United Nations. A long way to come fLike in a fairy tale, Somalian-born Waris Dirie became one of the world's most soughtafter top models. Born into a family of goat-herding nomads, Waris' fascinating path would take her from the Northeast African deserts to the world's most prestigious fashion runways and magazines. At 13, Waris fled forced marriage and crossed days of desert alone before reaching the Somali capital Mogadishu. Relatives soon shipped her off to London to work as a servant in the Somali embassy, where she spent the rest of her adolescent years in illiteracy. When faced with the threat of returning to war-torn Somalia, Waris finds herself homeless and illegal. Spunky shopgirl Marilyn takes Waris in and becomes a trusted friend. While working in a fast food restaurant, Waris is discovered by star photographer Terry Donaldson, and ambitious agent Lucinda guides her transformation into a working model. But behind the glamorous facade of Waris' new life lies a deeply heart-stirring fate. Despite her success, Waris remains burdened by a violent childhood secret. At the height of her career, Waris reveals to the world that she was a victim of female genital mutilation. Her story unleashes a wave of sympathy and controversy, and Waris decides to dedicate her life to fighting this barbaric tradition..or a shepherd’s daughter from Somalia.


Born in Kingston, New York, this German American director won several awards with her directing debut »Silent shadow« (1991), to which she also wrote the script, including the Bavarian Film Award and the Max-Ophüls Award. A graduate of the HFF (Academy of Television and Film Munich), she began her career as a set designer in Domink Graf's early works »Tiger, Löwe, Panther« (1987), for which she also wrote the screenplay, and »Spieler« (1989). As a director, Hormann displayed her talents for the first time in the popular comedy »Frauen sind was Wunderbares« (1994) for which she also wrote the screenplay. Her breakthrough as a director came with her second cinema film »Father's day« (1996). This relationship comedy pulled in more than 1.5 million viewers. For television, Hormann directed several thrillers such as Bella Block, »Meine Tochter ist keine Mörderin« (2001), three episodes of »Der Kriminalist« (2006) as well as the highly acclaimed two-part mini-series »Helen, Fred and Ted« (2006). This comedy about therapists with Friedrich von Thun, Andrea Sawatzki and Christian Berkel was nominated for among others the Bavarian Television Award.

2009 »Desert Flower« (Wüstenblume / feature)
2004 »Balls« (Männer wie wir / feature)
1998 »Widows« (feature)
1996 »Father's day« (Irren ist männlich / feature)
1994 »Women are simply wonderful« (Frauen sind was Wunderbares / feature)
1991 »Silent shadow« (Leise Schatten / feature)


Liya Kebede - Waris Dirie
Sally Hawkins - Marylin
Timothy Spall - Terry Donaldson
Juliet Stevenson - Lucinda
Craig Parkinson - Neil
Anthony Mackie - Harold
Meera Syal - Pushpa Patel
Soraya Omar-Scego - Young Waris


Written and directed by Sherry Hormann
Producer: Peter Herrmann
Co-Producer: Benjamin Herrmann, Danny Krausz
Based on the autobiographic novel by Waris Dirie
Cinematographer: Ken Kelsch
Editor: Clara Fabry
Music: Martin Todsharow
Production Design: Jamie Leonard
A production of Desert Flower Filmproductions
In co-production with Dor Film, Majestic Filmproduktion, BSI International Invest, Bac Films, Mr. Brown Entertainment, MTM West Film & Television, Bayerischer Rundfunk and ARD / Degeto
In cooperation with Backup Films
With support from Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Filmförderungsanstalt, Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Filmfernsehfonds Bayern, Eurimages, Österreichisches Filminstitut, ORF (Film / Fernsehabkommen) and Filmfonds Wien

Technical Data

Format: 35 mm / 24fps / 1:1,85 / Colour / Dolby Digital 5.1
Length: Approx. 120 Min.
Original language: English, Somali

Original title: Desert Flower


Click here for the »Desert Flower« artwork


Desert Flower
Desert Flower

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