Haifaa Al-Mansours Long-Gestating ‘Miss Camel’ Among Projects Receiving Red Sea Fund Support

Saudi director Haifaa Al Mansour’s long-gestating female empowerment feature film “Miss Camel” is among the projects being supported by Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival Foundation. The org has announced the recipients of the Red Sea Fund’s latest round of grants for Saudi, Arab and African films.

Al Mansour made waves in 2013 with “Wadjda,” about a 10-year-old Saudi girl who wants to ride a bicycle even though it is forbidden in her country. She more recently directed English-language biopic “Mary Shelley,” starring Elle Fanning, and the comedy drama “The Perfect Candidate,” which launched from Venice in 2019, about a young female physician who manoeuvres through her male-dominated society to run in municipal elections.

“Miss Camel” is about a Saudi teen who will do anything to escape her arranged marriage and fulfill her goal of attending art school outside of Saudi Arabia, according to a synopsis.

Other well-known directors who are among recipients of the 36 Red Sea grants comprise Palestinian auteur Annemarie Jacir for “All Before You,” a retelling of the beginnings and failings of the 1936 revolt against British colonial rule in Palestine; Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s next feature “Mime”; and “All That’s Left of You” by Palestinian-American multi hyphenate Cherian Dabis (“May in Summer”). 

Newcomers tapping into Red Sea coin comprise Saudi director Tawfik Alzaidi’s “Norah,” a groundbreaking drama about the power of art set in 1990s Saudi Arabia, when conservatism was at its height and all forms of art and painting were banned for religion-related reasons. “Norah” is produced by former Doha Film Institute head of finance Paul Miller who shepherded “Scales,” which was Saudi’s submission for the Oscars in 2020. 

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