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Narrative Feature Competition Jury

Irrfan Khan lives and works in Mumbai, the heart of Hindi mainstream moviemaking, but has preferred to work in cinema that challenges audiences. He studied at the National School of Drama in 1984 and moved to Mumbai in 1987 where he worked as an actor in TV and theatre before landing a cameo in Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay, which was eventually edited out. The Warrior (2001), which screened at many festivals, brought him international recognition. He became even more well-known in international circles with memorable roles in The Namesake (2006), A Mighty Heart (2007) and Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire (2008). More recently, Khan has appeared in Paan Singh Tomar (ADFF 2010) Lunch Box (2012), Life of Pi (2012) and Qissa (ADFF 2013).


The well-known novelist Waciny Laredj was born in Tlemcen, Algeria, and taught literature at his alma mater, the University of Algiers, till 1994. He has been teaching since at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he now resides. His novels, written originally in Arabic, have been translated into French and are followed throughout the Arab and francophone world. Some of his best-known works include Fleurs d’amandiers (2001), Les Balcons de la Mer du Nord (2003) and Le Livre de l’émir (2006). He has won a number of literary prizes including the Sheikh Zayed Prize for Literature in 2007. His writings often deal with the troubled history of upheavals in his native land and question conventional accounts of its history. He also writes columns on cinema, literature and theatre.

Writer, producer and director Steven Shainberg graduated in English literature and East Asian studies from Yale and worked as a production coordinator, assistant director and producer before writing and directing his own shorts, including the award-winning The Prom. He took his short films to festivals, and his series Mr. Viril (1993) starring Angelina Jolie in some episodes was shown on MTV. He made his feature film debut with Hit Me (1996). The film travelled to several festivals including Toronto, but his breakthrough film came with the controversial yet honest film Secretary (2002), which won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance. He also directed Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr. in the deeply affecting portrait of the iconic photographer in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006).

Cate Shortland, award-winning Australian writer and director of film and television, graduated from the Australian Film Television and Radio School, where she received the Southern Star Award for most promising student. She has directed the short films Strap on Olympia (1995), Penthouse (1998), Flowergirl (2000) and Joy (2000). Her work for television includes The Secret Life of Us for Network 10/Channel 4 and the miniseries The Silence for ABC TV which won numerous awards. Her debut feature film Somersault (2004) premiered with much success at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section, won more than 20 awards and was released in 15 countries worldwide. Her widely acclaimed second feature Lore (2012) also won several awards and had a screening at ADFF 2012.

Palestinian actor Ali Suliman shot to fame in his first major role in Hany Abu-Assad’s Academy Award–nominated and Golden Globe–winning Paradise Now (2005), becoming one of the most sought-after actors not only in the region but also internationally. He starred in the award-winning The Lemon Tree (2008), Pomegranates and Myrrh by Najwa Najjar (2008) and in The Time That Remains (2009) by Elia Suleiman. He is one of the few actors from the Middle East to have worked with top Hollywood directors such as Ridley Scott (Body of Lies, 2008). His recent films include Cruel Summer (2012), by Kanye West and Alexandre Moors; Jessica Hebei’s Mars at Sunrise (2012); Ziad Doueiri’s Attack, as well as Inheritance (2012), directed by ADFF 2012 Career Achievement Award recipient Hiam Abbass.

New Horizons / AFAQ JADIDA Competition Jury

Catherine Dussart entered the film industry as a publicist before founding her production company CDP based in Paris. She has produced a host of short, documentary and feature films. She has worked with a wide range of film directors such as Pavel Longuine (The Wedding, 2000), winner of a special jury prize at Cannes; Bernard Rapp (A Matter of Taste, 2000); Jocelyne Saab (Dunia, 2005); Peter Greenway (Goltzius, 2012); Yesim Ustaoglu, whose Araf/Somewhere in Between (2012) won a Black Pearl Award at ADFF 2012; Shohei Imamura; Rithy Pahn (The Missing Picture, 2013), which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Academy Awards and won the top prize at Un Certain Regard Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.


Basel Khayat, born in 1977, is a Syrian movie, television and stage actor. He graduated from the High Institute of Theatrical Arts in Syria in 1991. Khayat began his acting career by appearing in numerous roles on television that demonstrated his wide range of acting skills and soon led to leading roles. Despite the relatively small amount of film production in Syria, he has acted in several films that notably include Abdellatif Abdelhamid’s Two Moons and an Olive (2001) and Waha Al-Raheb’s Dreamy Visions (2003). Noted Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah cast him in the acclaimed Egyptian film Gate of the Sun (2004). Khayat also acted in Hatem Ali’s much acclaimed film The Long Night which screened at ADFF in 2010. 

Leila Kilani was born in 1970 in Casablanca, studied economics in Paris and earned an MA in Mediterranean history and civilization. After writing a thesis at L´Ecole des Hautes Etudes in social sciences she started working as a freelance journalist in 1997. Two years later she turned to documentary cinema. Some of her acclaimed films include Tangiers, The Burners’ Dream (2003) and Our Forbidden Places (2009). Her first feature On the Edge (2011), was supported by SANAD and premiered at Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. The film was broadcast in France by Epicentre and shown in more than 80 festivals. Kilani is working on her second feature Joint Possession, which has received a SANAD grant. Her roots in documentary filmmaking are evident in the observational style of her narrative features.

Anup Singh is a Geneva-based filmmaker who studied literature and philosopy at Bombay University, before graduating from the Film and Television Institute of India. Singh’s first short, Lasya -The Gentle Dance (1988), won top honours at Oberhausen. His much acclaimed debut feature, The Name of a River (2001), an homage to the legendary filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak, was screened at over 50 film festivals. Qissa (2013), which premiered at Toronto winning the NETPAC Award, also won an award at Mumbai and was warmly received at ADFF 2013 where it won the Best Actress Award. Its successful festival run continues, and in 2014 the film opened the Rotterdam festival, swept the awards at Queensland and screened at several other festivals worldwide.

A noted historian and film critic for Cahiers du Cinema since 1979, Charles Tesson was also the editor-in-chief between 1998 and 2003. He is known for his openness to a social and poetic cinema. He teaches cinema, history and esthetics at the Sorbonne Nouvelle and is the author of several books and essays on cinema, including Satyajit Ray (1992), Luis Buñuel (1995), Photogénie de la Série B (1997), Théâtre et cinéma (2007) and Akira Kurosawa (2008). He has edited several special issues of Cahiers including “Made in Hong Kong” (1984) with Olivier Assayas and “Made in China” (1999) and coedited the book L’Asie à Hollywood (2001). Currently Tesson is the artistic director of Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival.

Documentary Feature Competition Jury

Christina Voros is a Brooklyn-based director and cinematographer. She earned a graduate degree in English and American literature from Harvard University in 2000 and a master’s in cinematography and directing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2010. Her first documentary The Ladies (2008) received grand jury prizes at Slamdance and the Chicago International Film Festival and was invited to over 60 festivals. In 2010 she completed 127 Hours: An Extraordinary View, the documentary portrait of Danny Boyle’s Oscar-nominated picture. Her most recent documentary Kink (2013) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. As a cinematographer Voros’s recent narrative work includes As I Lay Dying (2013), Child of God (2013) and Sal (2011) for director James Franco. Her documentary cinematography includes Saturday Night (2010) and Let Freedom Sing (2009). 


Daoud Aoulad-sayed Was born in Marrakech in 1953, and earned a PhD in physics before attending a summer course at the prestigious film school La Fémis in Paris, which led to his career in cinema. He began as a photographer before going on to make shorts and documentaries. His debut film Bye-Bye Souirty (1998) was followed by The Wind Horse (2002), which won several awards. He received greater recognition after his next film Tarfaya(2004) was chosen in competition at San Sebastian. Waiting for Pasolini(2007) won the Best Arab Film at the Cairo Festival, while his latest movie The Mosk (2010) won a bronze Tanit at Carthage. He is now working on a project titled The Birds of the Mountains, for which he has received the support of ADFF’s SANAD.

Elyes Baccar Studied film directing at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français, Paris, and served an internship at La Fémis. He has made TV serials, documentaries and shorts and directed plays before his debut feature She and He (2007). His acclaimed documentary Rouge Parole (2011) about freedom of expression is an emotionally told story about the Tunisian revolution. Pakistan 7.6 (2006) and Music Says . . . (2007) were both winners at the Al Jazeera Documentary Festival. His other works include his short film L’impasse du temps perdu (1996) and Wailing Wall (2009), winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Osian’s-Cinefan Film Festival, New Delhi. Baccar heads the Cultulral Association for Integration and Training and is the founder and executive director of the Human Rights International Film Festival in Tunisia.

Sherief Elkatsha filmmaker, cinematographer and editor, was born in the United States, raised in Cairo, and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Butts Out (2006), his first feature-length film received the Best Documentary Award at the New England Film and Video Festival. A year later, he shot and codirected with Jehane Noujaim Egypt: We Are Watching You about politics in Egypt, which was aired on 42 networks worldwide. Elkatsha returned to Egypt in 2009 as cinematographer for Mikala Krogh’s Cairo Garbage. His much acclaimed Cairo Drive (2013), an insightful and humorous look at traffic in Cairo, had its world premiere at ADFF 2013 and won the Best Film from the Arab World in the documentary competition. Elkatsha is currently preparing to shoot a theme-driven exploration of female music composers in the Arab world.

Internationally acclaimed installation artist, documentary filmmaker and activist Amar Kanwar is known for the ways in which he pushes the boundaries of traditional documentary film. Recipient of the first Edvard Munch Award for Contemporary Art in Norway, his films have been shown at prestigious film festivals around the world. He has received a Golden Gate Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Golden Conch, Mumbai International Film Festival. His recent exhibitions have been at the Art Institute of Chicago, Edinburgh Arts Festival 2014, Gwangju Biennale 2014 in Korea, 56th Carnegie International in the US, 13th Istanbul Biennial, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Guggenheim Museum in New York, as well as in Documenta (2002, 2007, 2012) in Kassel, Germany. He is also the recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, USA (2014).

Short Film Competition Jury

Bassam Al Thawadi born in Baharain in 1960, made short films on 8mm before enrolling at the Higher Institute of Cinema, Cairo from where he graduated in 1982. Acknowledged as the director and producer of the first three feature films made in Bahrain, Al Thawadi is famous for his simple yet striking style of film making. His third film A Baharaini Tale (2006), acclaimed for his blending of realism and romanticism, travelled to several regional and international film festivals. Al Thawadi organised the Arab Cinema Festival in Bahrain (2000), another first in the Gulf region.  In 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gulf Film Festival, Dubai for his pioneering work. He currently heads the Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation.


Alexandre Charlet graduated from European Audiovisual Enterpreneurs and worked as chief assistant director, production manager and executive producer on various feature films, TV films and commercials before he founded Les Films du Cygne, a production company devoted to producing short and feature length films, in 1999. He also produces commercials under Swan France, a new label he created three years later. Alongside his activities as a producer, Charlet has made several commercials, mainly in animation, and also directed his first fiction short Pan a grandi et John Lennon est mort (2006). Charlet is president of Unifrance’s Short Films Commission and a member of the Syndicate of Independent Producers.

Maike Mia Höhne Was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1971 and has worked as a freelance writer, curator, producer, photographer and director. She studied visual communication at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana and the Escuela International de Cine y Televisión in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. After working in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she returned to the University of Fine Arts to complete her postgraduate studies with a focus on film. Höhne has curated shorts at the Berlin Film Festival since 2007 and has also been active for many years as a lecturer and moderator at film events.

Hala Lotfy is an award-winning filmmaker from Egypt. She founded Hassala Productions to assist upcoming filmmakers to help ensure their independence. She graduated from the Cairo Film Institute with honors in 1999. Lotfy started her career as an assistant director in commercials, but then moved on to her true passion, documentaries. By 2006 she had made three independent award-winning documentaries and seven TV documentaries for Al Jazeera as part of the series Arabs of Latin America. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Award. Her feature film directorial debut Coming Forth by Day was supported by SANAD and was first shown at ADFF 2012 where it won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film and Best Director in the Arab World category.

Gustavo Taretto was born in 1965 in Buenos Aires. He studied music and attended photography, screenwriting and directing workshops before beginning a career in advertising. He received a Gold Creative Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival in 2003 for his ad work. In 1999 he studied directing and writing under José Martínez Suárez. His short film Medianeras (2005) earned him more than 40 international awards, including the Grand Prix in Clermont-Ferrand, 2006. He expanded this film into a feature of the same title in 2011. His other shorts include Las insoladas (2002) and Cien pesos (2003). His fourth short Hoy no estoy (2007) received the Leopard of Tomorrow at Locarno. His second feature Las insoladas, based on his short of the same title, has just been released in Argentina.

Emirates Film Competition Jury

Acclaimed feature film director, screenwriter and producer Farida Benlyazid was born in Tangiers and began her career in cinema as the producer of A Breach in the Wall (1978) by Jilali Ferhati, for whom she also wrote the screenplay for Poupées de roseau (1981), a classic of Maghreb cinema. She made her debut as a director with A Door to the Sky (1989). She also wrote the script for Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi’s Á la recherche du mari de ma femme (1995). Her other well-known films, many of which have been screened internationally, include Women’s Wiles (1999), La vida perra de Juanita Narboni (2005). Her work depicts Moroccan society through an intimate and intricate portrayal of women.


Ibrahim Al Hassawi is a theatre, cinema and TV actor and screenwriter from Saudi Arabia. He started his theatre career in 1980 and made his TV debut in 1989 in the series The Cell. He has appeared in more than 24 series including Tash Ma Tash (1997), The Musa Sisters (2007), Fences (2009) and I Am Singing While She Is Dying (2010). Al Hassawi has also played distinguished roles in plays like The Story of What Was Done, Sacrifice, The Death of Faraj the Singer, MAS Under Zero, Moderate Without Moderation and The Death of the Author. He appeared in a main role in the Saudi short film Aiesh (2010) directed by Abdullah All A’yaf, which was tapped as the Best Gulf Film at the Gulf Film Festival.

Fatima Al Remaihi, acting CEO of the Doha Film Institute and director of the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, has a graduate degree in English literature from Qatar University. She began her career at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. Al Remaihi has managed various projects for the Emiri Diwan and produced and directed the short film Like Father, Like Son (2009). She was the cultural advisor for the first edition of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in 2009 and joined the Doha Film Institute at its inception, leading a community outreach team in delivering various projects and events to appeal to Qatar’s cross-section of audiences. As the festival director and head of programming at the Doha Film Institute, Al Remaihi directs the strategic and operational aspects of the Festival.

Abdullah Saleh is a multitalented theatre artist from the UAE: a writer, actor, director and singer. Born in Ras Al Khaimah, he performed for the first time on the stage of the Dubai Popular Theatre, which he helped found in 1978. Saleh also played a key role in founding the Theatrical Association and the Youth Theater for the Arts. Many of Saleh’s performances are icons of Emirati theatre history including Massoud’s Dreams, The Wife of His Excellency the Minister and Baraha’s Door, and he has authored several important plays including Alsardal. Saleh has won numerous awards, including best actor seven times at Sharjah Theatre Days. In all, he has participated in more than 70 dramas and has written books about song, theater and heritage. 

The talented Iraqi-Kurdish/Norwegian filmmaker, writer. Hisham Zaman is a graduate of the Norwegian Film School. His breakthrough film Bawke (2005) won more than 40 awards including the Black Pearl for Best Short Film at ADFF 2007. That same year Zaman made the medium-length film Country of Snow and two years later another short, The Others. In 2013, Zaman made his debut feature Before Snowfall (2013), which won Best Cinematography at Tribeca and Best Film from the Arab Word in the New Horizons section at ADFF. Zaman was awarded the Telenor Culture Prize 2013 for his “ability to combine the art of filmmaking with an exceptional talent for communication.” His latest feature Letter to the King (2014) won the top prize at Sweden’s Goteborg Film Festival and the Dragon Award.

Child Protection Competition Jury

Marwan Hamed graduated from the High Institute for Cinema, Cairo, in 1999 and worked as an assistant director for many Egyptian filmmakers in addition to directing commercials. In 2001, he directed the short film Lilly (2001), which won awards at Carthage, Milan and other film festivals. The astoundingly bold examination of contemporary Cairo in his debut feature The Yaacoubian Building (2006) earned him awards along with the prestige of Egypt’s official submission to the Oscars. In Ibrahim Labyad (2009), his second feature, he cast prominent actors Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Ahmed El Sakka, Hend Sabry and Amr Waked. Hamed was also part of the omnibus film 18 Days that screened at Cannes. His much acclaimed latest film The Blue Elephant (2014) was recently released in the UAE.


Lt. Col. Faisal Al Shamari is the director of the UAE Ministry of the Interior Child Protection Centre. As a member of the Quality and Excellence Team he developed the IT policies of the the Abu Dhabi Police. His work won the Abu Dhabi Excellence Award for operational and crisis issues and counterterrorism. Al Shamari manages official communications during major events and is the coordinating officer and media representative of the Ministry of the Interior. He serves on the Child Protection Executive Committee.

Heyam Al Juma
Heyam Al Juma is an influential media figure in the UAE, who earned a PhD in communications and media studies from the University of Westminster in England in 2004. She is currently the director of development section at Arab Media Group and at the Al Bayan newspaper. Al Juma has participated in various key regional and global conferences such as Abu Dhabi World Leadership Summit, Women in Media in the UAE, the Arab Media Conference and the Arab Journalism Awards and often been part of high-profile media delegations. 

Nelly Karim is a renowned ballerina and actress for cinema and television. She has toured the world to the acclaim of audiences and critics. Her acting talent was discovered by the iconic actress Faten Hamama, and critically acclaimed TV and film roles followed. She landed a coveted role in Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine’s Alexandria–New York (2004). Her other movies include The End of the Road (2006), We’ve Met Before (2008) and Kamla Abu Zekri’s One-Zero (2009), Mohamed Diab’s Cairo 678 (2010) and Marwan Hamed’s The Blue Elephant (2014). On the small screen, Karim starred in a string of TV dramas. Her greatest success came with her second collaboration with director Zekri, in the TV drama Zaat. She followed this with another big TV success, Women’s Jail. 

Alessandra Priante is a graduate of the Università Luigi Bocconi and holds a master’s in audiovisual management. Combining her experience in corporate finance with her cultural expertise, she joined the Directorate for Cinema of the Italian Ministry of Culture. Priante has since represented Italy in various international and European institutions and has been the Italian representative in Eurimages since 2009. As an expert in international markets, she has developed relations with the Middle East, and her expertise in this region has recently been recognised with her appointment as Italian diplomatic cultural representative for the Gulf area. She teaches film management and international audiovisual analysis at some of the major universities in Italy for postgraduate students and has published books on the same subjects. Priante is an avid cinéphile.





Great Britain




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.






NETPAC, the Network for the Promotion of Asian 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 Narrative, New Horizons and Documentary Competition sections as the winner of the NETPAC Award.


This award celebrates films devoted to broadening awareness of significant environmental issues.

These films are eligible for the Our World Award.

Ben Knight, Travis Rummel

Hubert Canaval

Sanjay Rawal

Margaret Brown

Mark Grieco

Orlando Von Einsiedel 

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