ROME — The Venice Film Festival has tapped Saudi femme helmer Haifaa Al Mansour (“Wadjda”) to preside the jury of its Luigi De Laurentiis Award, handed out to a first work.
Mansour was at Venice last year with “Wadjda,” her well-received debut feature about a spunky girl who wants to ride a bicycle, a no-no in Saudi Arabia. “Wajda,” which Sony Classics will release in the U.S., is also the first feature shot entirely within the kingdom.
The De Laurentiis Award carries $100,000 in cash to be split between the director and producer of the winning first work picked from all sections of the fest, including the independently run Venice Days and Critics’ Week.
Mansour will head a seven-member jury. Other jurors will be announced at a later date.
The upcoming 70th edition of Venice will run Aug. 28-Sept. 7.