DUBAI: Saudi filmmakers Haifaa Al-Mansour and Hana Al-Omair have this week been selected by the Arab Cinema Center for its list of 101 professionals named as the most influential personalities in the Arab film industry.
The organization revealed its list on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival for the 7th year in a row.
Al-Mansour has long led the way for Saudi cinema. Her 1997 short film “Who?” and the 2005 documentary “Women in the Shadows” helped boost the women’s empowerment movement across the region. In 2012, her film “Wadjda” was the first feature to be shot entirely in the Kingdom, going on to achieve worldwide acclaim and a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the BAFTAs.
Al-Mansour’s latest comedy drama, “The Perfect Candidate,” premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August 2019.
It made history as the first film supported by the Saudi Film Council, which announced its intention to back Saudi productions and expand the country’s film industry during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
Meanwhile, Al-Omair is the writer and director of “Whispers,” the first Saudi Netflix original series.
It is an eight-part psychological thriller about a family torn apart when its patriarch, Hassan, dies in an accident just before the launch of his company’s much anticipated new app — and by the secrets that begin to unfold once he’s gone.
The list of influential professionals also includes Tunisian-Egyptian actress Hend Sabry, Jordanian actor-producer Saba Mubarak, Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, Palestinian director and actress Hiam Abbass, Egyptian actors Ahmed Ezz, Ahmed Malek, Karim Abdel Aziz and many more.