The 14th edition of DIFF will be welcoming another world-renowned panel of cinematic superstars to comprise the jury for the highly anticipated Muhr Awards. The prestigious jury will have the unenviable task of presiding over the latest and greatest in Arab talent.
Since it began in 2006, the Muhr Awards have recognized the filmmaking skill of up and coming directors globally and from the Arab film industry. Held during the Festival, running from 6 – 13 December, the 2017 Awards will be comprised of four individual film categories: Muhr Emirati, Muhr Features, Muhr Short and Muhr Gulf Short.
DIFF’s Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali, commented on the impact of the Awards: “The Muhr Awards are always a spectacle to behold at DIFF, as every year hosts some of the most gifted filmmakers and their incredible works of art for all to see. By giving filmmakers global exposure at DIFF, we not only get the nurture their craft, but also can foster the next generation of talent in the region and beyond. We believe that DIFF always showcases the best and brightest, and this year the Muhr Awards are sure to capture the hearts and minds of our audiences.”
Returning to DIFF is Emirati actor, director and producer Hani Al Shaibani. Having previously debuted his feature Waiting List (2016) to audience acclaim, Al Shaibani will make his mark in the judge’s seat as a member of the Muhr Emirati competition jury.
Joining Al Shaibani for the Muhr Emirati jury is dedicated Bahraini writer Fareed Ramadan. With a special interest in cinema and filmmaking, he has written a number of feature film scripts, and short film scripts, and has participated in many regional and international conferences and film festivals; he is certainly no stranger to the skillset required for a successful project.
Completing the jury and heading up the trio is acclaimed Egyptian director and writer Magdi Ahmed Ali. From his debut with Ya Donya ya Gharamy (Life My Love) (1996) and A Girl’s Secret (2001), to The Nile Bird (2009) and Mawlana (2016), Ali has honed his craft under the tutelage of renowned Egyptian directors and established a reputation for exceptional storytelling.
Heading up the Muhr Feature competition jury is illustrious German actress Martina Gedeck. With 23 major cinema and TV awards to her name, and over one hundred acting credits, Martina Gedeck is globally renowned. Her vast array of acting talents has seen her star in a number of critically acclaimed films, including Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd (2006) and German rom-com Mostly Martha (2001).
Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni joins the Muhr Feature jury having made a name for himself in the industry producing and directing documentary’s centred on the Arab world, including his latest work, the award-winning documentary Ghost Hunting (2017).
Accomplished television, film and stage actress Sahar Dolatshahi adds to the prestige of the Muhr Feature jury as its third member. The Iranian talent has turned heads with her unique presence in front of the camera, including her work on ‘Fireworks Wednesday’ (2006), ‘Gold and Copper’ (2011), and ‘Inversion’ (2016), which are her most renowned works to date, and was awarded the Crystal Simorgh at Fajr Film Festival in 2015 for her performance in the family crime-drama, ‘Ice Age’.
Dominique Cabrera is next on the roster for the Muhr Features jury, with as many as 50 credits to her name and a number of awards and nominations, including critical acclaim at the Berlin International Film Festival at the Forum of New Cinema for WWII drama ‘Folle Embellie’ (2004). Works of the French film director have screened at festivals across Berlin, Toronto and Vienna International, and she made waves in 1999 for ‘Nadia and the Hippos’, which screened in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes Film Festival.
Egyptian filmmaker Ahmad Abdalla rounds off the robust Muhr Feature jury at DIFF 2017. With a passion for film and as many as 20 film credits to his name, as well as six award wins under his belt, Ahmad Abdalla is considered to have sparked the beginning of the Egyptian independent cinema new wave with his first feature film Heliopolis (2009).
Shining a light on innovative short films, the Muhr Short competition jury will be headed by celebrated French director and screenwriter, Gilles Marchand.
President of the Jury for the Muhr Short and Gulf Short competition this year is Gilles Marchand. Marchand’s portfolio includes an array of award-winning shorts and features, and further nominations for his screenwriting. His film‘Qui a tue Bambi? (Who Killed Bambi?) (2003) screened to audience praise at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for the Golden Camera award. His renown is tangibly linked to his dramatic and mysterious works such as; With a Friend Like Harry (2000); Human Resources (1999); and Bon Voyage (2003).
Making his return to DIFF is Mehdi M. Barsaoui. Having previously directed and written the short film, We are Just Fine like This (2016), which won in the Muhr Short category of the 2016 Muhr Awards, and held its MENA Premiere at that year’s Festival, Barsaoui is the perfect candidate to cast his eye over this year’s entries as part of the Muhr Short and Muhr Gulf Short competition juries.
Joining Barsaoui across the Muhr Short and Muhr Gulf Short panels is Ahd Kamel. The Saudi Arabian actress and filmmaker made her mark as the starring role in the critically acclaimed, BAFTA-nominated, Wadjda, which is Saudi Arabia’s first feature length film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. Ahd Kamel’s acting career took off in 2005 following a string of internationally successful short films, all three of which won prestigious festival awards.
The Muhr Awards will run the length of the 14th edition of The Dubai International Film Festival, from 6 – 13 December, 2017.