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 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 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 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.
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.