Cannes: Saudi star Ahd Kamel signs distribution deal for directorial debut

Saudi actor and director Ahd Kamel. Courtesy Odd Camel Films
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Saudi actress Ahd Kamel has had her feature-directing debut, My Driver and I, picked up for pan-Arab distribution by Egypt/Abu Dhabi-based distributor MAD Solutions at the Cannes International Film Festival. Kamel previously appeared in the critically acclaimed Saudi movie Wadjda, as well as a trio of Image Nation Abu Dhabi-produced movies – Djinn (2013), From A to B (2014) and Zinzana (2015). My driver and I tells the story of a young and privileged, but rebellious, Saudi girl and her relationship with her African driver. Filming has started in Jeddah, with an expected release date early next year.

Busy time for director Ken Loach

At the age of 79, you might think that veteran British director Ken Loach would be taking it easy at Cannes – far from it. On May 16, he was in the audience at the Dubai Film Market goes to Cannes screenings, where he lent his support to one of this year's hottest, yet most controversial tickets, Nasri Hajjaj's 1972 Munich Olympics hostage documentary Munich: A Palestinian Story. Later that day, his own new movie I, Daniel Blake, a typically Loachian drama about a carpenter who is forced to claim state welfare benefits after an accident, which had its premiere at the festival on May 12, was picked up for North American distribution by AMC-owned Sundance Selects. The movie is already tipped for awards. Loach previously claimed the Palm d'Or in 2006 with his film The Wind That Shakes The Barley, about the Irish War of Independence.

Peshmarga fighters documentary added to line up

Cannes organisers have added Peshmerga, a 92-minute documentary about Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Iraq by French philosopher/filmmaker Bernard Henri Levi, to the official screening line up. The documentary, for which the crew travelled more than 1,000 miles across Iraq capturing the lives of the fighters, will screen on May 20 at 3pm in the Salle Bazin. A further screening might be added the following day, depending on demand.