As Roger Ebert once said, movies are a machine that generates empathy. And Elite Zexer’s “Sand Storm” certainly fits the bill. This impressive debut feature gives us an insightful look at a Bedouin culture many are unfamiliar with. Set in a patriarchal society, it follows the travails of a young woman who challenges the rules through a forbidden romance. Recently, I caught up with Zexer to discuss the film’s feminist themes, her thorough writing process and the heartbreaking true story that inspired her. Below is an edited version of our conversation.