DAVOS, Switzerland: Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia, has received a Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum's 2019 meeting in Davos for her leadership in cultural transformation in the Arab world. Watch a recap of the award ceremony below:
“Wadjda”, Al-Mansour’s feature debut, was the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first by a female director.
The success of her 2005 documentary “Women Without Shadows” was a breakthrough that was followed by a new wave of Saudi filmmakers and front-page headlines of Saudi Arabia finally opening cinemas in the Kingdom.
She was recently appointed to the Board of the General Authority for Culture to advise on the development of the cultural and arts sectors in Saudi Arabia.
She recently released “Mary Shelly” starring Elle Fanning, and “Nappily Ever After” starring Sanaa Lathan. Al-Mansour is the first artist from the Arabian Gulf region to be invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In her speech after receiving the award, Al-Mansour reflected on the role her father played in her filmmaker dream, paying homage to the films he showed her as a child.
“Those films made me feel part of a bigger world, they made me love the world. They made me who I am,” Al-Mansour said.
"I wanted to have a voice. I wanted to have a passion. I wanted to be happy," she added.
The other winners of the Crystal Awards at this year's Davos meeting are Marin Alsop, for her leadership in championing diversity in music and legendary broadcaster Sir David Attenborough for his leadership in environmental stewardship.
The Crystal Awards honour exceptional artists and cultural leaders whose important contributions are improving the state of the world and who best represent the “spirit of Davos.”