SAUDI RUNAWAY centres on the story of Muna, a young woman about to enter into an arranged marriage who secretly starts filming herself and the events around her with her smartphone. Director Susanne Regina Meures carefully assembles these scenes into an oppressive interior view of a patriarchal system.
Jury statement: "Through Muna’s eyes, SAUDI RUNAWAY’s ›vlogumentary‹ style offers an intimate and sympathetic portrayal of life as a young woman in Saudi Arabia and the multitude of opposites that shape it: modernity and tradition, family love and trauma, duty and liberty. Susanne Regina Meures captivates us through the creative treatment of a medium we all possess, revealing its potential for a widespread empowerment. By breaking cinematic conventions and evading the clichés of the western gaze, Muna’s secretive cinematography oscillates the audience between witness and eavesdropper. Uncertainty and tension are palpable throughout, but linger long-after: Muna is merely one of many."
Albert Wiederspiel, Festival Director of FILMFEST HAMBURG: " The European University Film Award focuses on the exchange between young film enthusiasts. By choosing SAUDI RUNAWAY, the jurors have chosen a film that looks beyond the borders of Europe. It shows that European films do not only have to deal with the situation in Europe."
Twenty-five universities from 25 European countries are involved in the European University Film Awards, each sending a delegate to the conference, where the nominated films are being discussed and the winner is voted on.
The previous winners of the European University Film Awards:
2019: PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (D: Céline Sciamma); 2018: HAPPY AS LAZZARO (D: Alice Rohrwacher); 2017: HEARTSTONE (D: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson); 2016: I, DANIEL BLAKE (D: Ken Loach).
The European University Film Award is organized by Filmfest Hamburg and the European Film Academy in close cooperation with the NECS European Network for Cinema and Media Studies and funded by the Minister of State for Culture and the Media on the occasion of Germany's Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2020. Media Partner is Cineuropa.