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Narrative Feature Competition

Shabana Azmi

President - Shabana Azmi was born in New Delhi to noted and progressive Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi and theatre artist Shaukat Azmi. She graduated with a degree in psychology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai before joining the acting course at the Film and Television Institute of India. Her debut film, ankur (1974) brought her the National Award for Best Actress, and she has since appeared in more than 120 films – arthouse as well as mainstream. Her films have received wide critical as well as public acclaim and her work has won numerous honours, national and International. Her films, to mention a few from a long list, include arth (1982), khandhar (1984), paar (1984), madame sousatzka (1988), bengali night (1988), city of joy (1992), in custody (1993), fire (1996) and 15 park avenue (2005). She is also known for working for the cause of minorities, women and the underprivileged. Here too, her commitment and efforts have been applauded and awarded. She is the recipient of a number of global leadership and excellence awards. The fourth highest Civilian Award in India, the Padmashree, was conferred upon her in 1988. Shabana has also served as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, from 1997 to 2003.

Cedomir Kolar

Cedomir Kolar was born Rijeka in the former Yugoslavia. He graduated with a degree in film production from the Belgrade Academy of Dramatic Arts and began his career in 1991 with Noé Productions in Paris. His impressive filmography includes before the rain (1994), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award; kini and adams (1997); as you like me (1997); train of life (1998); the adopted son (1998); the chimp (2001); and no man’s land (2001) by Danis Tanović, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. More recently, he produced black ocean (2010) and the acclaimed cirkus columbia (ADFF 2010). In 2003, together with Tanović and fellow producer Marc Baschet, he founded A.S.A.P. Films, a Paris-based production company.

Samir Farid

Samir Farid is one of the most respected film critics and authors in the world. He was born in Cairo and graduated from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts (Academy of Arts). He started his career as the film critic of Al Gomhoreya daily in Cairo in 1965, emerging as one of the most significant film critics in the Arab world. Since 1967, Samir has been invited to more than 200 film festivals and seminars in Africa, Asia, the United States and Europe. He has been a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, since 1971, and the International Jury Boards since 1972. Earlier this year, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema. Farid has authored over 60 books, contributing significantly to Arab and Egyptian Cinema.

Niki Karimi

Niki Karimi is an Iranian actress, director and screenwriter. She was born in Tehran and began her acting career after graduating from high school. Now one of Iran’s leading actresses, she has appeared in more than 20 films, winning numerous national and international awards. Her performance in Dariush Mehrjui’s sara (1992) won her best actress awards at San Sebastián and the Festival of 3 Continents, Nantes.  In 2001, she directed To Have or Not to Have, a documentary about infertile couples. Her narrative-feature debut, one night (2005), was screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes. Her third film as director, final whistle (2011) won three awards at the International Festival of Asian Cinema in France. In addition to her work in cinema, Niki has also translated books including Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi and songs my mother taught me by Marlon Brando and Robert Lindsey.  She has served on the juries of many top festivals including Locarno, Cannes, Berlin, Reykjavik and Osian’s Cinefan, New Delhi.

Ismael Ferroukhi

Ismaël Ferroukhi was born in Kenitra, Morocco and grew up in Crest, France. His first short film, l’exposé (1992), won the Special Jury Prize at Clermont-Ferrand and the SACD Prize at Cannes and kickstarted his career as a director. He kept it up with films that included  the short l’inconnu (1995), and films for television including akim (1997) and petit ben (1998). Among his writing credits are trop de bonheur (1994) and l’avion (2005) which he co-wrote with director Cédric Kahn. He shot to international fame with his first feature film, the highly acclaimed le grand voyage (2004), which won the Lion of the Future Award at the Venice Film Festival and was warmly received at festivals all over the world. His second feature, free men (2011), was screened at ADFF, winning the award for Best Director from the Arab World. He is currently working on his next film Children of the Fatherland. 

New Horizons / Afaq Jadida Competition

Françoise Bonnot

President - Françoise Bonnot is a French film editor with more than 40 feature credits. She is known for her notable collaboration with famed director Costa-Gavras. Their first feature z (1969, see page 98) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and earned her an Oscar for editing. Her work with Costa-Gavras extended over eight films in 30 years. In 1982, she won the BAFTA Award for Best Editing for Missing. Their last film together was mad city (1997). Françoise most recently worked on el gusto (2011), with director Safinez Bousbia, which was co-funded by ADFF and premiered at the Festival last year, where it won two awards. Her other films include the tenant (1976), titus (1999), frida (2002), across the universe (2007) and the tempest (2010).

Giorgio Gosetti

Giorgio Gosetti is a veteran critic and film programmer. He was born in Venice and graduated from La Sapienza University in Rome with a degree in Literary Criticism. He has been organizing cultural events since 1974, when he co-founded the audio-visual festival Antennacinema. He later moved on to more prominent positions, becoming the head of permanent projects and activity at Biennale Cinema in Venice, deputy-director of the Venice Film Festival and General Manager and Joint Artistic Director of the Rome Film Festival. He also became the Director General of the Agency for the Promotion of Italian Cinema from 1999 to 2004, and is currently a reporter for the Press Agency ANSA and Director of Venice Days at the Venice Film Festival

Vimukthi Jayasundara

Vimukthi Jayasundara is an award-winning Sri Lankan director known for his surreal films that erase the borders between fiction and documentary, between cinema and visual art. After finishing his documentary the land of silence (2002) about the victims of civil war, he made his directorial debut with the forsaken land (2005), which won the Camera d’Or for best first feature at Cannes and inspired Gilles Jacob, the festival’s president, to state that the great hope for the renovation of contemporary cinema was born. Jayasundra followed this with Between two worlds (2009), which competed at the Venice Film Festival, and has been shown at over 100 festivals internationally. His third feature mushrooms (2011) was filmed in India and went on to be selected for Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. In 2012 he was invited to be one of three international directors to produce a film for the Jeonju Digital Project 2012, for which he made light in yellow breathing space;  it was selected for the Locarno Film Festival.

Mohamed Jabarah Al Daradji

Mohamed Jabarah Al Daradji Sundance Fellow and Variety’s Middle East Filmmaker of the year in 2010, was born in Baghdad and studied film and television production at the Media Academy in Hilversum, The Netherlands. He completed his masters at the Northern Film School, Leeds, where he won the prestigious Kodak Student Award. He returned to Iraq to make his first feature, Ahlaam, which screened all over the world and won numerous awards. His next film, son of babylon, premiered at the Festival in 2009 before going on to worldwide acclaim. The documentary in my mother’s arms (2011), which he co-directed with his brother Atia, received support from ADFF’s SANAD fuin and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is currently working on his third feature, the train station. This project is supported by SANAD and was selected for L’Atelier at the Cannes Film Festival.

Nawaf Al-Janahi

Nawaf Al-Janahi is an acclaimed Emirati director, screenwriter and actor. He was born in Abu Dhabi and studied cinema in the United States. He has been an integral member of the nascent film movement in the UAE, contributing shorts like on a road (2003) and souls (2004) to the pioneering Emirates Film Competition; he is also the founder of the UAE’s first online film community. His highly acclaimed short mirrors of silence (2006) were screened at a number of international film festivals. His feature debut the circle (2009) was described by critics as a major turning point in Emirati and Gulf cinema. His second feature, sea shadow, premiered at ADFF in 2011 before screening at other film festivals around the world.

Documentary Competition

Miguel Littín

President - Miguel Littín is a Chilean director, screenwriter, producer and novelist. He was born to a Palestinian father and a Greek mother. He directed the highly influential jackal of nahueltoro (1969), which screened at the Berlinale, making him a leading figure in the New Latin American Cinema. Exiled to Mexico in 1973 after the change of regime in Chile, he made several films including letters from marusia (1976), the story of a miners’ strike in Chile that screened at Cannes and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

He also made the widow of montiel with Geralidine Chaplin, based on a short story by Gabriel García Márquez; and later went to Nicaragua to make the award-winning alsino and the condor (1983), which was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. After he moved to Spain in 1984, Littín decided to make a clandestine entry into Chile to film the documentary acta general de chile, showing the conditions under Pinochet’s regime. It was made the subject of Marquez’s book clandestine in chile: the adventures of miguel littín.

Haile Gerima

Haile Gerima is an independent filmmaker and professor of film at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Ethiopia, he emigrated to the United States in 1967. He studied acting in Chicago before entering UCLA film school. After completing bush mama (1975), he received international acclaim with harvest: 3000 years (1976), an Ethiopian drama that won the Grand Prize at the Locarno Film Festival. After the award-winning ashes & embers (1982) and the documentaries wilmington 10—u.s.a 10,000 (1978) and after winter: sterling brown (1985), Gerima filmed his epic, sankofa (1993). His most recent festival success, teza (2008), won the Jury and Best Screenplay awards at the Venice Film Festival. He also lectures and conducts workshops in alternative screenwriting and directing both within the US and internationally. In 1996 he founded the sankofa Video and Bookstore, a cultural and intellectual space in Washington.

Carles Bosch

Carles Bosch is a Spanish journalist and filmmaker. He directed cuban rafters (2002), which won several international awards, including an Emmy and a Peabody in 2004, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2003. His work as a veteran reporter for Spain’s Channel TV3 has taken him to the doorstep of major world events, including the First Gulf War, the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, and the Zapatista uprising. In 2006, he directed his second feature documentary, septembers, which was screened at a number of festivals, including the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). His bicycle, spoon, apple (2010) was awarded the Goya Prize for Best Documentary at the San Sebastián International Film Festival.

Mohamed Hefzy

Mohamed Hefzy is a producer and screenwriter from Egypt and the founder of The Film Clinic. His production credits include Ahmad Abdalla’s highly praised films heliopolis (ADFF 2009) and microphone (2010). He recently co-produced the internationally acclaimed my brother the devil (2012), which was awarded the European Cinema Label Prize at the Berlinale. He also produced tahrir 2011:the good, the bad and the politician (2011), which won several awards including the CICT UNESCO Award at Venice and Best Arab Producer at ADFF. The world-premiere screening of asma’a (Amr Salama, 2011) at ADFF 2011 was warmly applauded by critics and audiences alike. Mohamed is recognized worldwide for the originality and the excellence of his projects. He also teaches screenwriting courses at the American University in Cairo.

Safinez Bousbia

Safinez Bousbia was born in Algeria and received her education in Switzerland, the UK and the UAE. She worked as an architect for several years before switching to film in 2003. She founded the Dublin-based Quidam Productions in 2004. Her film debut was x-kids, a 52-minute documentary which she wrote, produced and directed. On a visit to Algeria, she discovered the world of chaabi music, which inspired her to produce and direct her next feature-length documentary el gusto (2011). The project was supported by ADFF’s SANAD fund and received thunderous applause when it was screened at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in 2011. Her passionate effort won her the award for Best New Director in the Documentary Competition.She is currently working on her next film, a feature-length narrative inspired by the true stories of single mothers and their children, as well as a television series about women in the Arab world. 

Short Film Competition

Karim Bachir Traidia

President - Karim Bachir Traïdia was born in Algeria, and graduated from the Netherlands Film and Television Academy in 1991. His first short film de onmacht won several awards in Europe. His first feature film the polish bride (1998) won two Golden Calf awards and was screened at International Critics’ Week at Cannes. It was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and won the Prix Europe at Berlin. His other films include eilandgasten and les diseurs de vérité as well as his TV film de avondboot. Karim is currently working on chronicles of my village, a film about his childhood in Algeria.

Rania Attieh

Rania Attieh is an award-winning Lebanese director. She was born in Tripoli and earned an MFA from City College of New York. Together with her partner Daniel Garcia, she has written and directed many short films including tripoli, quiet, which won Best Middle East Short at ADFF in 2009. Their first feature, ok, enough, goodbye was supported by ADFF’s SANAD fund and premiered at the Festival in 2010, where it won Best Narrative Film by a New Arab Director and went on to international acclaim. She was subsequently included in Filmmaker magazine’s ‘25 New Faces of Independent Film’ in 2011. She is currently in postproduction on her second narrative feature, recommended by enrique, which was shot in Texas. 

Ahmed Hassan Ahmed

Ahmed Hassan Ahmed was born in the United Arab Emirates. He is a widely respected art director for films and co-founder of Faradees. He has worked on more than 30 projects, including short films, music videos, commercials and TV series. His most prominent credits include ameen (2005), tenbak (2008), bint miriam (2008), sabeel (2010) and smaller than the sky (2012). He has received various national and international awards. 

Felix van Groeningen

Felix van Groeningen graduated with a master’s degree in Audiovisual Arts from the KASK in Ghent with his short film 50 cc (2000). He has made a number of short films and written and directed various pieces for the theatre group Victoria, and also played the lead in the group’s play aalst. After several years of acting and working in theatre, he decided to return to filmmaking. Together with producer Dirk Impens, Felix directed four feature-length films including steve + sky (2004), with friends like these (2007), the misfortunates (2009), which premiered in Directors Fortnight at Cannes, and the broken circle breakdown (2012). His next feature is currently in postproduction. 

Ahmed Magdy

Ahmed Magdy was born in Cairo and studied film production at the Jesuit Cairo Cinema School. His graduation film a cream cake (2008) won the Silver Hawk award at the Rotterdam Arab Film Festival in 2009, and received a special mention from the Golden Taghet Independent Film Festival in Algeria and the Jordan Short Film Festival in the same year. His short films have been screened at festivals including ADFF and Corto Del Med. His acting credits include award-winning films such as microphone (Ahmad Abdalla, 2010) and the nile birds (Magdy Ahmed Aly, 2010). He attended the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2010 and is currently preparing his first feature film. 

Emirates Film Competition

Ridha Behi

President -Ridha Behi was born in Kairouan, Tunisia and is one of the most influential and respected directors from the Arab World. Since the 1960s he has devoted himself to writing, directing and producing for both film and television, in both narrative and documentary forms. In 1977, his first feature, sun of the hyenas, was screened at Director’s Fortnight in Cannes. In 1994 he won the FIPRESCI Prize at Carthage for his film the swallows do not die in Jerusalem; and in 2002, he won the Special Prize of the Jury for the magic box. Over the years his films have been selected by international film festivals including Cannes, Venice and Toronto. His latest film always brando (2011) was screened at ADFF and won the award for Best Producer from the Arab World ‘in recognition of the producers’ determination to realise their cinematic dream against all odds’. Ridha teaches film at the prestigious ESAC School for Higher Studies in Cinema and the Audiovisual in Gammarth, Tunisia.

Bader Ben Hirsi

Bader Ben Hirsi British-Yemeni playwright and director, began his career with numerous successes at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in London, where the press compared him to Edgar Allen Poe and Jean-Paul Sartre. After completing his masters in drama production from Goldsmith’s College, London University, he turned his attention to projects promoting a more favourable image of the Arab World with his first award-winning documentary the english sheikh & the yemeni gentleman. He went on to write and direct Yemen’s first-ever feature film a new day in old sana’a. His other notable projects include hajj: greatest journey on earth and  9/11 through saudi eyes. Bader produced the ground-breaking Abu Dhabi-based millions’ poet series before directing and producing the arabian oryx – freed spirit of the desert. Bader is a co-producer of the multiple-award winning Iraqi film son of babylon. He is currently working on his next feature, little bride.

Ali Al Ali

Ali Al Ali is a self-taught director who initially got involved with film as a hobby in his small Baharaini village. In due course he met Baharainian filmmaker Abd Alnabi Fardan, and was encouraged to attend a film workshop in Egypt. He followed up by attending more workshops with well-known filmmakers like Bassel El Khatib and Shawki Magiri. His films have screened at various festivals including the Emirates Film Competition, the Gulf Film Festival and other events in Morocco and Jordan. His film mariamy (2008) was selected for the Durban Film Festival and established him on the international festival circuit.

Suha Salem

Suha Salem was born into an artistic family in Iraq. She graduated with a BA in fine arts and an MA in theatre arts from Baghdad University, and is currently pursuing a PhD. She has acted in numerous television and radio shows as well as theatrical productions. She has received many awards throughout her career including Best Actress in the Iraq Theatre Festival in 1984 and the Golden Creativity Award for Best Actress at the Cairo Film Festival in 2001.

Ahd Kamel

Ahd Kamel is an award-winning filmmaker and actress from Saudi Arabia who works between New York City and the Arab world. Her first film as director, the shoemaker, which she both wrote and acted in alongside star Amr Waked, competed at over a dozen international festivals including the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in France. It won The Golden Aleph for Best Middle Eastern Short at the Beirut International Film Festival, second prize at the Gulf Film Festival, and a special jury mention at Oran, Algeria. In her acting debut, razan, she won the Golden Gate Award for Best Actress at the San Francisco International Film Festival. She worked alongside Peter Berg on the kingdom as set assistant and technical adviser. In 2008, she received the Cloeween Connection award from ADACH for an emerging Middle Eastern filmmaker, presented by Spike Lee. She was listed by Screen International as one of the ten most promising talents from the Arab world.


NETPAC, the Network for the Promotion of Asia Cinema, established in 1990, is the leading platform for the discovery and promotion of Asian cinema. The organisation instituted the NETPAC Award to acknowledge and recognize the emergence of new cinematic talent among Asians. As more Asian films were selected for exhibition for world audiences, a yardstick for quality was necessary that matched the competitive spirit fuelling the creative urges of young Asian filmmakers.

The NETPAC Award is now given at about 30 international film festivals in 22 countries on five continents. At ADFF the NETPAC Jury will select an Asian film from the from the Narrative, New Horizons and Documentary Feature Competition sections as the feature winner of the NETPAC Award.

NETPAC jury members at ADFF:

Prasanna Vithanage, film director, Sri Lanka (President)
Nick Palevsky, film critic, USA
Gautaman Bhaskaran, film critic, India


FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, has been in existence for more than 70 years. The essential purpose of the organisation, which now has members in more than 60 countries, is to support cinema as an art form. FIPRESCI collaborates with the European Film Academy for the FIPRESCI Prize for a First Feature Film and awards its own Best Film of the Year as well. FIPRESCI is also involved with the Berlinale Talent Campus to train young critics. At ADFF, the FIPRESCI jury will focus on Arab Films that are from the Narrative Feature, New Horizons and Documentary Feature Competition sections.

FIPRESCI jury members at ADFF:

Fernando Salva, Spain (President)
Barbara Lorey de Lacharrière, France
Essam Zakarea, Egypt
Houda Ibrahim, France
Premendra Mazumder, India

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