"The Perfect Candidate"

Haifaa Al-Mansour‘s “The Perfect Candidate” will be made available online rather than entering a theatrical run, thanks to UK distributor Modern Films. The film was set to premiere theatrically in the UK on March 27.

Instead of a proper cinema release, the film will now be accessible on the Curzon Home Cinema VOD platform on what would have been its public release. The feature will also be made available on the BFI Player and Modern’s streaming website and is backed by the BFI Lottery Funds. According to Deadline, the funds and promotional efforts for the film’s theatrical release were already packaged and so the decision to proceed to digital accessibility was the safest bet.

”As the campaign is already in progress, the feeling is to keep moving with it,” said Eve Gabereau, Modern Films MD.

“In line with the spirit of the film as a timely story and of Al Mansour as a brave director who is fighting for socio-political change through art and expression, we are committed to offering The Perfect Candidate as readily as possible without compromising the current wider health concerns and code of conduct around social distancing,” added Gabereau.

Al-Mansour’s film, about a young Saudi doctor who persists in running for her local political office amidst social and familial barriers, first premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival where it played in competition for the Golden Lion. The film was one of only two feature selections directed by women to compete among others for the coveted award.

“The Perfect Candidate” also screened at Toronto International Film Festival, London Film Festival, and Sundance Film Festival. It stars Nora Al Awadh in the lead as Sara. For being Al-Mansour’s first Saudi feature since “Wadjda,” the filmmaker implores a spirited narrative ahead of the social politics which still affects women in Saudi Arabia to this day. The film currently has no US distributor.

Al-Mansour’s other credits include “Wadjda,” “Mary Shelley,” “Nappily Ever After,” and an episode of Netflix’s “The Society.” The decision wasn’t made all too lightly, as the film’s plans for an audience push comes amid the COVID-19 outbreak. With the spread of the pandemic, many theaters and studios have been hedging their titles with caution.

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