Haifaa al-Mansour is the first woman filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and is regarded as one of its most significant cinematic figures. She studied comparative literature at the American University in Cairo and completed a master’s degree from the University of Sydney. The success of her 2005 documentary Women Without Shadows influenced a new wave of Saudi filmmakers and made the issue of opening cinemas in the Kingdom front-page news. Wadjda, Al-Mansour’s feature debut, is the first fictional feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first by a woman director. The film received wide critical acclaim after its premiere at the 2012 Venice Film Festival and was selected as the first-ever Saudi Arabian entry for Best Foreign Language Film to the Academy Awards. Her follow-up films Mary Shelley and Nappily Ever After opened in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Haifaa al-Mansour is the first artist from the Arabian Gulf region to be invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.