Haifaa Al Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and is regarded as one of the most significant cinematic figures in the Kingdom. The success of her three short films, as well as the international acclaim of her award-winning 2005 documentary Women Without Shadows, influenced a whole new wave of Saudi filmmakers and made the issue of opening cinemas in the Kingdom a front-page discussion. Al Mansour wrote and directed her feature debut film Wadjda, which was the first full-length film to be shot entirely in the Kingdom. It was selected as the Saudi Arabian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, which is the first time Saudi Arabia has submitted a film for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. In 2017, Al Mansour directed the Hollywood film Mary Shelley, starring Elle Fanning, and in 2018 she directed the Netflix original film Nappily Ever After. Her latest short film, The Wedding Singer’s Daughter, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September, offering a glimpse into the hidden world of Saudi women when not inhibited by the presence of the male gaze.
Wahid Hamed is one Egypt’s most acclaimed screenwriters and producers, whose repertoire includes more than 100 dramatic works in cinema, television, radio and theater. Since the 1970s, Wahid has collaborated with the region’s most esteemed directors, stars and filmmaking talents spanning several generations. While Wahid’s films have won numerous awards and seen major box office success, his career is also notable for the battles he has fought against the authority of film censorship. His films include: Al Bare'e (The Innocent), Al Ghoul (The Ghoul), Toyour Elzalam (Birds of Darkness), Al Takhshiba (The Prison Cell), Kashf El Mastour (Revealing the Hidden), El Noom Fel Asal (Sleeping in Honey), and El Gamaah (The Brotherhood TV Series). Wahid Hamed was the recipient of the Dubai International Film Festival’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
His son, director Marwan Hamed is one of Egypt's most prominent filmmakers whose work has explored new genres in the Egyptian film industry. His two-decade career boasts a roster of remarkable works in cinema, television and music videos. Marwan's films consistently impress critics and audiences alike, topping the box office in Egypt and the Arab world. His hit films include: Omaret Yaacoubian (The Yacoubian Building), Ibrahim Labyad, El Feel El Azra' (The Blue Elephant), and Al Asleyeen (The Originals). He is currently preparing for the release of his highly-anticipated upcoming film, Torab El Mas (Diamond Dust).
Bernard-Henri Lévy, a renowned French philosopher, author, and filmmaker, was one of the leaders of the “Nouveaux Philosophes” (New Philosophers) movement in 1976. He is being honored for his powerful and moving documentary films Peshmerga and The Battle of Mosul that embody his passionate commitment to bringing the world’s attention to the Kurdish fight against ISIS and the values which this fight and Kurdistan represent.