Haifaa Al Mansour, Vertigo Films Join AlUlas Saudi Female Filmmaker Program; Botswana Director Moreetsi Gabang Wins Durban NEFTI Award Global Briefs

Vertigo Films & Haifaa Al Mansour Join Saudi Female Filmmaker Program

UK production company Vertigo Films (MonstersBritannia, Bronson) and pioneering Saudi director Haifaa Al Mansour (The Perfect CandidateWadjda) have come on board a Film AlUla program aimed at mentoring emerging female Saudi filmmakers.  The initiative, bannered the AlUla Creates’ Saudi Women Director Program, was first announced this year at Cannes Film Festival, alongside news that Katie Holmes was also getting involved.  Vertigo, Al Mansour and Holmes will work together to select and then support three emerging female filmmakers from Saudi Arabia. Submissions for the program run until August 31. “When I first started making films the idea of working as a female Saudi director seemed outlandish.  But I knew that the world was curious to hear from us, to hear our side of the story, and that films from home would strike a chord with audiences around the world,” said Al Mansour, whose 2012 debut Wadjda, was Saudi Arabia’s first female-directed feature. “Now, working on a program like this to foster and support upcoming female artists in Saudi Arabia feels just as unbelievable.”

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Botswana Director Moreetsi Gabang Wins Durban NEFTI Award

Botswana filmmaker Moreetsi Gabang has won the top $5,000 prize in the Durban FilmMart edition of the NEFTI awards for feature Zombie Date Night in Tlokweng. The comedy-drama revolves around a young couple whose date night takes an unexpected turn when a roommate returns home possessed by a demonic spirit after attending a religious sermon. The film also won the $2,000 Audience Award. In their fourth year, the NEFTI awards were developed by NEFT Vodka and the International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA) to showcase and support emerging talent in Africa. Zombie Date Night in Tlokweng was among three films in the final round of the Durban edition alongside two South African films: Duma’s Forbidden Taste, about a black and white couple who meet against the backdrop of apartheid in the 1960s, and Emma Tollman’s Rage about a woman’s search for healing which takes her on a transformative road trip. Upcoming NEFTI Competitions include NEFTI Nigeria, and NEFTI All-Stars.

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