Most of director Assia Djebar's films focus on the colonization of Algeria by the French, and the roles of women in Algerian society. She is best known for her debut film, Noubat Nissa Djebel Chenoua (1978), which presented an innovative blend of feature film, documentary, and poetic commentary that focused on the quiet, but vital role of women in the War of Independence. Prior to directing, just after the War of Independence, Djebar had been a novelist and essayist. As there were few female writers in Algeria at that time, she was able to garner financial support from RTA, the state television network, to produce two films--including Al Zerda (1980)--which were only distributed within the Arab world. She is, therefore, not well known in international cinema.