Saudi Arabian Haifaa Al-Mansour made history back in 2013 when her film Wadjda became Saudia Arabia’s first film submission to the Academy Awards. The trailblazing filmmaker is accustomed to breaking down barriers, which she proved once again this weekend, when she became one of just two female directors, in a line-up of 21, to have films screened at Venice Film Festival.
Al-Mansour walked the red carpet in support of her latest film, A Perfect Candidate, a drama about a young female doctor Maryam, played by Mila Alzahrani, who runs for public office and tackles gender-based obstacles along the way.
The Saudi director was joined by Alzahrani, the protagonist in her movie, and Dhay, who plays Selma. As the only Arab film nominated at the festival, Al-Mansour received a standing ovation during the premiere of The Perfect Candidate.
Alzahrani shared a video on her Instagram from the press conference at the festival. “I am happy to be here as a Saudi at the Venice Film Festival and stand on the red carpet as the heroine of The Perfect Candidate,” she writes. “It is the only Arab film nominated for the award and has won the admiration of the most prominent international critics. We are very proud of this achievement.”