MICHEL KHLEIFI (PRESIDENT)
Michel Khleifi (born Nazareth, 1950) is a director whose films include ‘Fertile Memories’, ‘Wedding In Galilee’, (winner of the International Critics Prize at Cannes 1987), ‘Canticle Of The Stones’, ‘Tale Of The Three Jewels’ and ‘Route 181 - Fragments of a Journey in Palestine and Israel’ (co-directed with Eyal Sivan). Khleifi lives and teaches in Belgium. His 2009 feature ‘Zindeeq’ won Best Feature Film in the 2009 DIFF Muhr Arab Feature competition.
Abdo Khal (born Al-Majanah, Saudi Arabia 1962) is an author based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the winner of the 2010 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Works include ‘Days Don’t Hide Anyone’, ‘Death Passes From Here’ and ‘Immorality’.
Maya Sansa (born Rome, 1975), is an actress of Italian and Iranian descent. She graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and subsequently starred in Marco Bellocchio’s film ‘La Balia’ followed by ‘Goodmorning, Night’. Sansa has also worked with Marco Tullio Giordana in the film ‘The Best of Youth’.
Hesham Selim is an Egyptian actor and the son of Saleh Selim. He has made many movies and television serials since his childhood. He has three daughters. He starred in ‘Justified Cheating’, presented in the Arabian Nights programme at DIFF 2006.
DONALD RANVAULD (PRESIDENT)
As Buena Onda’s President since 2003, documentary-maker, journalist, critic, professor, author and international producer, Donald Ranvauld is active on many fronts. He is concerned with discovering and nurturing filmmakers and empowering them to find their true creative voices as well as being a global ambassador for Latin and Central American cinema.
Tahani Rached was born in Egypt and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, Canada. From 1980 to 2004 she was a staff filmmaker with the National Film Board of Canada, tackling subjects as diverse as war in Lebanon in ‘Beirut! Not Enough Death to Go Round’ (1983) and choir-singing in ‘For A Song’ (2001). His feature ‘These Girls’ was featured at DIFF 2006.
Moroccan-born Hakim Belabbes is based in Chicago, where he teaches film at The School Of The Art in Chicago. Previous works include ‘Threads’, ‘Why O’Sea’, ‘These Hands’, ‘A Nest In The Heat’ and ‘Whispers’. A frequent visitor to DIFF, he won a Special Mention at the 2009 DIFF Muhr Arab Documentary Awards with ‘In Pieces’, presented ‘These Hands’ at DIFF 2008, won Bronze Prize at the 2006 Muhr Arab Feature competition with ‘Why O’Sea’ and screened ‘Threads’ at the 2004 Arabian Nights programme.
SAMIR FARID (PRESIDENT)
Critic and film historian Samir Farid (born Cairo, 1943) has been film critic for Cairo newspaper ‘Al Gomhoreya’ since 1965. He was co-founder of the National Festival of Short and Documentary Film in 1970 and the National Festival of Feature Films in 1971 and has been a FIPRESCI member since 1971. He was Cairo correspondent for ‘Variety’ magazine during the 1980s.
AHMED AL MULLA
Ahmed Al Mulla (born Al-Ahsaa, Saudi Arabia 1961) has published four volumes of poetry including ‘Thalla Yataqassaf’ (1995), ‘Khaleef Wa Mael Kanesyan’ (1997), ‘Sahm Yahmos Bi Ismi’ (2005) and ‘Tamareen Wahsh’ (2010). He was also Director and Chairman of the Saudi Film Competition in 2008. He was scriptwriter for a number of DIFF presentation screenings, including ‘Dark’, ‘Dolls’ and ‘Shadows’.
IBRAHIM ABDUL KARIM AL MULLA
Ibrahim Abdul Karim Al-Mulla (born Sharjah, UAE) is an award-winning film screenwriter and poet, having published books of poetry including ‘Desert In Baskets’ (1997) and ‘I Left My Sight In The Well’ (2003). He currently works as a journalist for ‘Al Ittihad’ newspaper in Abu Dhabi.
JOHNNY TO (PRESIDENT)
Johnnie To (born in Hong Kong, 1955) is a prolific, award-winning director and producer across several genres. His films include ‘A Hero Never Dies’ (1998), ‘The Mission’ (1999). For both ‘PTU’ (2003) and ‘Election’ (2005, screened at Insights From Asia, DIFF 2005) he was named Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards. His feature ‘Exiled’ was screened at DIFF 2007 in The Cinema Of Asia.
BAFTA-award winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia (born London, 1972) studied filmmaking at the Royal College of Art where he directed short film ‘The Sheep Thief’ (1997, Second Prize at 1998 Cannes International Film Festival - Cinefoundation). His first feature ‘The Warrior’ (2001, FilmFour) won awards worldwide, including two BAFTAs. He recently completed his fourth feature ‘Senna’, about late racing legend Ayrton Senna.
Garin Nugroho Riyanto ( born in Indonesia, 1961) has shot 10 feature films since 1986, as well as projects for television, documentaries and music videos. He has also published books on media, culture and politics, and is Director of the SET Foundation, which focuses on media, multicultural affairs and democracy. His feature ‘Blue Generation’ was screened in the Cinema Of Asia Africa programme at DIFF 2009.
Author and journalist Derek Malcolm was film critic for The Guardian for over 30 years before moving to the London Evening Standard. He was President of the International Film Critics Association (FIPRESCI) for ten years and is now an Honorary President. He is also President of the British Federation of Film Societies, a former Director of the London Film Festival and a member of the British Film Institute’s Board.
Jérémy Segay joined the newly-created Deauville Asian Film Festival in 1999 as programmer, moving in 2003 to the Directors Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival as their Asian specialist. He is a regular contributor to the monthly Cahiers du Cinéma and one of the co-authors of the ‘Dictionnaire du Cinéma Asiatique’.
Anand Patwardhan, has been making films in India for over three decades. He was active in the Bihar anti-corruption movement in 1974-75 and in the civil liberties and democratic rights movement during and after the 1975-77 Emergency. Since then, he has worked for causes including housing rights of the urban poor.
South African filmmaker Francois Verster has a background in writing, music, academia and film. His most recent documentaries include ‘When The War Is Over’ and ‘A Lion’s Trail’ for which he won an Emmy in 2006. He is currently teaching a course on Afrikaans identity and culture at Columbia University in New York. His film ‘Sea Point Days’ was screened at the Muhr Asia Documentary programme at DIFF 2008.
Jean-Pierre Rehm moved from teaching (history and theory of art and film) to the French Ministry of Culture and from there to curator of exhibitions and head programmer (Cairo Museum of Modern Art, Yokohama Art Center in Japan, Witte de With in Rotterdam). Since 2001, he has been directing the International Documentary Film Festival of Marseilles.
Rakhshan Bani Etemad
Rakhshan Bani-Etimad (born in Tehran, 1954) studied at the University of Dramatic Arts in Iran. She has directed a number of acclaimed TV documentaries and features including ‘Off The Limits’ (1987), ‘Nargess’ (1991, Best Director award at Fajr International Film Festival) and domestic smash hit ‘Under The Skin Of The City’ (2000). She produced ‘Heiran’, which screened in the Muhr Asia Africa Feature strand at DIFF 2009.
Michel Kammoun (born in Lebanon, 1969) graduated from the ESEC film school in Paris. He has written and directed many short films, including ‘Cathodique’ (1993), ‘Shadows’ (1995), ‘The Shower’ (1999), ‘Clowning Around/The Vanishing Rabbits’ (2003). ‘Falafel’ is his first feature film. His film ‘Falafel’ won the Silver Prize at the 2006 DIFF Muhr Arab Feature competition.
Author, playwright, lecturer, critic and broadcaster Hannah McGill (born in Shetland, 1976), has contributed to numerous publications including The Scotsman, The Times, Time Out, Art Review, The Guardian and Sight and Sound. Her fiction, drama and journalism has been broadcast across arts programmes on national and international BBC radio. She was Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival from 2006 to 2010.
ANDRZEJ WERNER (PRESIDENT)
Andrzej Werner (born Warsaw, 1940) is a film critic, lecturer and historian. Since 1962, he has been writing film and literary articles and reviews for Polish periodicals. In 1996 he received a professor’s degree. For the last 25 years has been the President of Polish national section of FIPRESCI.
Gulbara Tolomushova is a film critic, author, broadcaster and historian from Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the Board of the Union of Cinematographers of Kyrgyzstan, FIPRESCI and NETPAC (The International Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema). She is also a scientific worker at the National Academy of the Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Mohammed Rouda was born in Lebanon and became a film critic while he was still in high school. He is author and publisher of ‘The Book of Cinema’, an annual review of Arab and international films. He wrote the screenplays for the first ever Saudi feature films, ‘Shadows Of Silence’ and ‘What’s Up’ (both 2006).
MAGDA MIHAILESCU (PRESIDENT)
Magda Mihailescu is a FIPRESCI film critic, broadcaster, author and historian, and a member of the Romanian Filmmakers Union (UCIN) and FIPRESCI. She writes for cultural periodicals including Cultura, Dilema Veche and Observator Cultural. Since 1990 she has been working for major Romanian newspaper Adevarul, as the chief of the Cinema Dept.
Based in France, Leo Soesanto is a film and TV journalist. He works for Les Inrockuptibles and Grazia, and is a co-editor at ‘L'Hebdo Séries’. He joined the selection committee for Features at Cannes Critics' Week in 2008.
HALA EL MAWY
Hala El Mawy is an Egyptian journalist, film critic, festival programmer and radio presenter at the European service of Radio Cairo. She headed debates at Cairo International Film Festival in 2008 and since 2007, co-ordinates juries for Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentary and Short Films. She was the main programmer at the 2009 Alexandria International Film Festival.
KEBOUR GHENNA (PRESIDENT)
Kebour Ghenna (born Ethiopia, 1956) worked for over six years at UNECA in Addis Ababa and UNDP in New York as Program Manager. In 1997, Kebour was elected President of the Addis Ababa and Ethiopia Chambers of Commerce. In 2007 he launched the annual Addis International Film Festival to advance human rights issues.
Taco Ruighaver (born The Netherlands, 1964) is director of the Movies That Matter Foundation and Head of Programming at the Movies that Matter Festival in The Hague. Taco is one of the initiators of the Human Rights Film Network. For eight years he was editor of the Dutch Amnesty International magazine ‘Frontaal’.
Sawsan Darwaza (born Amman, 1962) is a pioneer in the field of Jordanian independent theatre and film, driving the arts in Jordan and wider region. An author, director and producer, she has worked at key Jordanian cultural institutions and was recently, Festival Director of Karama Human Rights Film Festival.