Haifaa al-Mansour is regarded as one of Saudi Arabia’s most significant cinematic figures. She studied in Cairo and completed a master’s degree in Film Studies from the University of Sydney. She began making short films before moving into documentary with Women Without Shadows (2005).
Wadjda (2013), which she wrote and directed, was her feature debut. The film received its world premiere at the 2012 Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a BAFTA and the Best Children’s Feature Film APSA in 2013. It is the first feature to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first by a female Saudi Arabian director. Wadjda was selected as the Saudi Arabian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards®, the first time Saudi Arabia has submitted a film for this category. In 2016 Al Mansour became the first artist from the Arabian Gulf region to be invited to join AMPAS®. She recently published a novelization of the film titled The Green Bicycle for Penguin Group.
Her latest film is Mary Shelley, starring Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth, about the life of the author of Frankenstein. It recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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