Ahd Kamel, an actress and director to watch

VERDICT: Actress and director Kamel, who starred in the Amazon thriller 'All the Old Knives', steps behind the camera

Actress and filmmaker Ahd Hassan Kamel appeared on the festival scene playing Ms. Hussa in the ground-breaking Saudi film Wajdja, followed by roles in the 2018 BBC2/Netflix series Collateral and a turn co-starring in the 2022 Amazon thriller All the Old Knives alongside Chris Pine.

After growing up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Ahd moved to New York in 1998, where she received her degrees in Animation & Communication at Parsons School of Design and Directing at the New York Film Academy, and followed an acting course at the William Esper Studio.

After directing two short films – The Shoemaker (Al-Qondorji) and Sanctity (Hurma, the first Saudi film in competition at the Berlinale) – she is now finishing her first feature film, My Driver and I, inspired by her own life. In a film that details Saudi society at the end of the 20th century and a girl’s universal adolescent experiences as she comes up against society’s expectations, the story focuses on the protagonist’s evolving relationship with her long-time Sudanese driver and confidante.

In her director’s statement, embellished with an irresistible photo of a teenage Ahd circa 1990 dressed as Cyndi Lauper, she describes her first film as a project “very close to my heart” and fits it into a current need for “more varied and relatable representations from the Arab world.”

Ahd was selected as a Young Global Leader in 2019 by the World Economic Forum.