Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia's first woman filmmaker whose debut feature "Wadjda" has been a hit on the festival circuit since last fall, has been named President of the International Jury for the "Luigi De Laurentiis" Venice Award for a Debut Film at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, running from August 28 through September 7.
Al Mansour's "Wadjda" is also the first film shot in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; it was launched at the 2012 Venice and Telluride film festivals to critical acclaim. The international success of the film, which hits theaters stateside September 13 via Sony Pictures Classics, led Variety to name Al Mansour one of its “10 Director’s to Watch” in 2013.
Our TOH! interview with Al Mansour is here.
The International Jury of the “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film will award to one of the debut feature-length films in the various competitive sections of the fest ( including official selections and Independent and Parallel Sections), the Lion of the Future -- “Luigi De Laurentiis," and a cash prize of $100,000, to be divided equally between the director and the producer.