Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania has urged the authorities in the North African country to support home-grown cinema production following her historic nomination for an Oscar.

Her film – The man who sold his skin – has been nominated in the best foreign-language film category.

It stars Italian actress Monica Bellucci alongside Syrian Yahya Mahyani and Belgian Koen De Bouw and tells the story of a Syrian refugee who in order to get to Europe offers his back to a tattoo artist to use it as a canvas.

The 43-year-old director was born in Sidi Bouzid, the hotspot of the popular uprising in 2010 that led to regime change in Tunisia and caused a ripple effect in other Arab countries.

She was hailed in 2017 at the Cannes Film Festival for her film Beauty and the dogs about a Tunisian woman fighting for justice after she was raped.

The Oscars ceremony will be held on 25 April.