CineEurope: Saudi Director Haifaa al-Mansour to Receive Special Recognition Award

Haifaa al-Mansour
Christopher Patey

Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour helmed Wadjda, the first Oscar submission from a country that famously has no cinemas. 


The award is being given in honor of the 'Wadjda' director's "remarkable achievements as an industry leader in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Acclaimed filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour, considered Saudi Arabia's most prominent director, has been named the recipient of CineEurope's inaugural special recognition award.

The award will be presented to Al-Mansour — who rose to fame with her 2012 feature debut Wadjda, the first film to be shot entiirely in Saudi Arabia — at the trade show in Barcelona on Thursday, June 14. 

"CineEurope is thrilled to be able to present Haifaa al-Mansour the first-ever special recognition award for her remarkable achievements as an industry leader in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia," said Andrew Sunshine, president of the Film Expo Group. "Haifaa is one of the most significant cinematic figures in the kingdom. We congratulate Al Mansour on this well-deserved honor."

Since Wadjda, Al-Mansour has directed Mary Shelley — which debuted in Toronto and released last month by IFC — followed by the upcoming Netflix rom-com Nappily Ever After. Earlier this year, following the announcement in December that Saudi Arabia would be lifting a 35-year ban on public cinemas, the Saudi Film Council was officially launched, with al-Mansour's project The Perfect Candidate unveiled in Cannes as being the first film to receive financial support from the new body. 

Another project on the horizon from the director is the animated Miss Camel, which in December won the IWC Filmmaker Award, worth $100,000. 

She is also one of three women recently added to the board of the Saudi's General Authority for Culture, which will oversee creative development in the country.