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Arab Film Festival

Guest Filmmakers

130426-annemarie-jacir Annemarie Jacir

Annemarie Jacir is an independent filmmaker and screen- writer living in Jordan. Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Cinema,” two of her short films have premiered as Official Selections at the Cannes Film Festival, one as an Academy Award® qualifier. Her debut, Salt of the Sea, was Palestine’s Official Oscar® Entry for Best Foreign Language Film and was also noted as the first feature film directed by a Palestinian woman.


full_6_dtff_2012_director_laurent_a_t_benalla_o_my_body_at_arab_guests_lunch_20_11 Laurent Aït Benalla

Born in 1976 to a Moroccan father and a French mother, Laurent Aït Benalla is one of the founders of SLAB, a Montpellier-based production centre for documentaries. His films – all so far under an hour – include ‘Un couteau et un cœur (2009); ‘Marcel Hanoun, chemin faisant’ (2010), which observes the late 81-year-old Tunisian filmmaker at work; and ‘Suite anglaise’ (2011).


 Jessica Habie

Jessica’s documentary works Beyond Blue and Gray and Art and Apathy received awards at several film festivals including Tribeca Film Festival, The Cannes Short Film Corner and Berlinale Talent Campus. Mars at Sunrise was produced by Baher Agbariya (Thirst AttashLast Days in JerusalemMan Without a Cell PhoneOmar) and edited by Luis Carballar (Amores Perros,ManorcaSin NombreThe Devil’s DoubleImmigrant) and ErezOs. Sound Design was done by Martin Herndandez, (Amores PerrosBabelInto the WildThe Loneliest PlanetOn the Road).


maxresdefault Rola Nashef

Born in Lebanon, first-time director Nashef drew on her personal experience growing up in Detroit as she attempted to humanize Arab-Americans for North American audiences in the film. Shooting took nine years, during which she had to overcome a serious back injury and invent creative solutions to a lack of funding.



 Joe-Bou-Eid-7Joe Bou Eid

Born in 1983, Joe Bou Eid graduated from in Audio Visual Arts from the Saint-Joseph University (Beirut) in 2007. Before that he worked in advertising and the music industry, when he won the Best Director Prize for this third Music Video in 2009. “Tannoura Maxi” is his first feature film



4115092_300 Kathy Wazana

Casablanca-born filmmaker Kathy Wazana set out to discover why hundreds of thousands of Jews left Morocco in the 1960s, believing their Arab homeland had become enemy territory. What she found was a country still grieving the loss of its Jewish population. Her “enemy” welcomed her home and claimed her as one of their own.




 imagesJohn Slattery

Producer/director began work in television as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. While studying directing and cinematography at UCLA he received the Kenneth Macgowan Award, the Joseph Drown Award and the Edgar Brokaw Scholarship. He has collaborated with several producers, DP’s and organizations on short and feature films and TV shows. In 2004, Slattery founded Zween Works – a multidisciplinary film and video production house.



Mohamed Diab, the San Francisco Film Society's fall 2013 Artist in Residence. Mohamed Diab

Mohamed is one of the most prominent young screenwriters in Egypt, dubbed the “Hollywood of the Middle East.” Diab comes from the city of Ismailia, east of Cairo, where he went to college and earned a degree in commerce. After working in the wrong field, he took a leap of faith and quit his job to explore his passion for cinematic writing.




moumen-smihiAGVh Moumen Smihi

Moumen is a filmmaker who was born in 1945 in TangierMorocco. His career spans more than four decades, during which he has written, produced and directed award-winning and influential feature films, short films and documentaries. He is considered to be a seminal member of the “new Arab cinema”,[1] which began to flourish in the 1970s. Smihi has taught and lectured at Paris 8 University and at UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies. He has traveled extensively in Greece, France, Italy and in the Middle East, and has lived and worked in Egypt. Today, he divides his time between Tangier and Paris. His production company, IMAGO Film International, founded in 1979, has produced some twenty films and edited books on film theory.


26th Annual International Documentary Association's Awards Ceremony - Arrivals Connie Field

Field’s works include Freedom on My Mind (1994), a history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi, which was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival; The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter(1981), which is listed in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress; and Have You Heard from Johannesburg (2010), a seven-part history of the global anti-apartheid movement. She has just finished Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine, which explores cross-cultural arts collaborations between African Americans and Palestinians, collective memory, shared dreams, and theater as a cultural force for social change.