DIFF announces prestigious jury for Muhr awards

Published December 6th, 2015 - 09:05 GMT

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has announced its panel of judges for this year. Renowned film industry professionals will make up the jury for the prestigious Muhr Awards at the Festival’s 12th edition. Boasting a line-up brimming with award-winning, prolific international and regional directors and actors, the Muhr Awards Jury will be tasked with recognising the best talent from the Arab and wider world throughout the competition, which will run from December 9-16, 2015.

The annual Muhr Awards at DIFF have recognised more than 280 cinematic works to date, with four categories making up this year’s Awards; Muhr Emirati, Muhr Features, Muhr Shorts and Muhr Gulf Shorts.

DIFF’s Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali, commented: “With such an incredibly talented line-up of films partaking in each of the Muhr Awards categories this year it is only fitting that our jury is rife with award-winning filmmakers who will understand what makes a truly great film. It is especially pleasing that we are able to welcome back previous winners of the Muhr Awards to be a part of the Jury this year – it is testament to the opportunities that can be realised for filmmakers who are recognised at our Festival.”

Heading up DIFF’s Muhr Feature Competition Jury is the Oscar nominated screenwriter, director and producer Deepa Mehta. Best known for her elements trilogy, ‘Fire’ (1996), ‘Earth’ (1998), and ‘Water’ (2005), Mehta has won more than 20 awards in an illustrious career that spans almost 40 years.

Metha will be joined by award-winning Australian independent documentary filmmaker Tom Zubrycki, whose documentaries highlighting social, political and environmental issues have won a host of international prizes and been screened extensively around the world.

Egyptian actor Khaled El Nabawy; who was introduced to cinema by the director Youssef Chahine in 1994, in his film Al Mohager. El Nabawy was awarded the All African Film Award for best actor for his role in this film, and also won the Horus Award for best supporting actor for The Destiny (Al Maseer) from Cairo National Festival for Egyptian Cinema. His roles in Hollywood include Kingdom of Heaven and Fair Game.

Representing the UAE is Emirati poet and filmmaker Nujoom Al-Ghanem. A highly acclaimed documentary filmmaker in her own right, Al-Ghanem has herself taken an impressive three Muhr Awards at DIFF – including the Al-Ghanem has herself taken an impressive three Muhr Awards at DIFF – including the Muhr Award for Best Non-Fiction Feature (2014), Muhr Emirati Special Jury Prize (2011) and the Muhr Emirati Award (2011).

Winner of the IWC Filmmaker Award in 2012, multi-talented Iraqi filmmaker Maysoon Alpachachi joins the Jury with over 30 years’ experience as an editor, producer, writer and director. The co-founder of the Independent Film & Television College in Baghdad, Alpachachi has helped foster filmmaking in the region with eight films produced by the college’s students having gone on to win prizes at Arab and international film festivals.

The Muhr Short and Gulf Short Competition Jury will be headed up by Oscar-nominated Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Beginning his career in the 1980s with a series of experimental films and documentaries, the renowned director went on to found The Icelandic Film Corporation – now Iceland’s most important production company – and collect a remarkable 24 awards for various works that include documentaries, short films, features and TV shorts.

Joining him is Tunisian director Hinde Boujemaa whose first venture into filmmaking, ‘It Was Better Tomorrow’, saw her win the Muhr Arab Award for Best Director – Documentary (2012), whilst her short film ‘…And Romeo Married Juliette’ also went on to win a Muhr Award (2014) for Best Short Film.

Pioneering Emirati director and producer Ali F. Mostafa, winner of the Muhr Award for Best Emirati Filmmaker (2007), joins the highly acclaimed Jury at DIFF. Since bursting onto the scene, the young Emirati has been tremendously well received and won the Young Filmmaker of the Year (2010) for his very first feature film ‘City of Life’.

The Muhr Emirati Competition Jury will be headed up by the talented double Oscar winning Danish producer Kim Magnusson. Renowned for his works ‘Adam’s Apples’ (2005), ‘Evil’ (2003) and ‘Flickering Lights’ (2000), Magnusson has aided the production of more than 100 titles.

He will be joined by renowned Egyptian journalist Abdul Sattar Naji who has been a juror at a number of esteemed festivals around the world including the Carthage Theatre Festival, The Damascus and Hong Kong Film Festivals and the Cannes Festival of TV and Documentaries.

Completing the Muhr Emirati Competition Jury is Dr Hessa Lootah, the first Emirati female television director who was recently honoured by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai at the UAE Pioneers Award 2015, for her contributions to the UAE’s success.

The Muhr Awards competition will run throughout the duration of the Festival, from December 9-16 2015. The DIFF box office is now open at www.diff.ae. Additional information is also available through the Festival’s dedicated customer care number, 363 FILM (3456).

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