The Venice title is the latest film from pioneering director Haifaa al-Mansour, who made the first Saudi Arabian feature Wadjda in 2012. The film marks a directorial return to her homeland.
The Perfect Candidate follows Maryam, a young Saudi doctor, who runs for city council after the male incumbent repeatedly ignores her request to fix the muddy road leading to her clinic. However, as the campaign slowly garners broader appeal, Maryam’s candidacy challenges her more traditional family, as she becomes a symbol for a much larger movement.
Producers include Al-Mansour, Brad Niemann, Gerhard Meixner and Roman Paul.
Music Box Films, which acquired all film rights in the U.S. and Canada, plans a theatrical run later this year followed by a home entertainment release. The deal was negotiated by Music Box Films’ President William Schopf and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmaking team.
“This film is a deeply human celebration of a woman fighting to be heard in Saudi Arabia, a country where women can now drive and run for local office, but still face obstacles when they try to actualize those political gains,” said Music Box Films’ President William Schopf. “We’re excited to bring Haifaa al-Mansour’s empowering film to U.S. audiences in 2020.”
Music Box has two more films at Sundance in the shape of Levan Atkin’s And Then We Danced and Pablo Larraín’s Ema.