Heiny was born in Lebanon in 1945. She was the first Arab woman filmmaker to have one of her films – The Hour of Liberation has Arrived – selected for the Cannes Film Festival.
She studied Social Anthropology at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she later worked as a journalist and film critic and developed an interest in Third World cinema. In her films, Heiny examines the role of Arab women in revolutions. She has shot films in Oman and Vietnam and has documented the Palestinian people’s struggle.