Our jury consists of film-making directors, producers, script writers, veterans and professors.
Sana Bagersh is the founder and CEO of BrandMoxie, and advertising agency based in Abu Dhabi, UAE that provides branding, strategy and integrated marketing services. She is also Managing Editor of Tempo, a youth/community magazine that promotes innovation, social enterprise and community engagement. She is also founder of Tamakkan, an entrepreneurship and innovation social enterprise that offers guidance to SMEs. Bagersh is also Executive Producer of a short film platform called The Smovies and a music initiative called the Dream Players. She currently serves as a board member at AmCham Abu Dhabi and is Chair of its Arts and Culture Committee.
Rami Alloush has over 17 years of experience in film programming and Cinema operations, starting his career in CineStar Cinemas as Cinema Manager. He worked his way up from small location into one of the biggest and busiest cinema in middle east which is VOX Mall of The Emirates with 20 Theaters including IMAX, GOLD, and 4DX
In 2012 he moved from cinema operation into Film Programming, where he accepted a role of Film Programming Manager of VOX Cinemas across six countries including (UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Egypt, Qatar, and Bahrain)
Besides the film programming, Rami also the CSR Ambassador for VOX Cinemas, where his mission is to create great moments for those who can’t afford to pay for it.
Mohannad Al Bakri
Mohannad moved to Abu Dhabi to join the New York University Abu Dhabi(NYUAD) as Director of External Relations and Partnerships to help bring the communities of NYUAD, Abu Dhabi, and the region together through shared artistic journeys through its newly established Arts Center.
Previously, Al Bakri led Luminus Media – Jordan as Regional Managing Director bringing to the organization new creative features hosting and supporting regional filmmakers into the SAE’s top of the line post production facilitates and expertise including Jordanian film director Naji Abu Nowar to work on the post production of his first film THEEB 2014, and Najwa Najjarto complete her second feature EYE ON A THIEF 2014. He also made many partnerships possible; among them a two million euros EU grant “Investing in Culture & Art in the South Mediterranean – ICAM” offering regional filmmakers and artists development grants and creative support.
Philip J. RachidDirector/Producer
Iraqi Kurdish filmmaker Philip Jamal Rachid was born in 1978, Sofia, Bulgaria and raised in Amsterdam. Currently, he resides in the UAE.
His love for film started because of his grandma, who worked in an arthouse cinema. Performing since a young age, he naturally took the path of a self-taught actor, who successfully played in various Dutch drama series and films.
Past years he made the switch to being a filmmaker in the Middle East, in order to tell stories that matter. Philip J. Rachid can call himself now an award-winning writer, director & consultant, who earned some stripes, but is still on his journey and keeps sharpening his skills.
With his book Film-O-Sophy, he shares 101 tips, experiences, and visions that shaped him during this part of the journey. With these tips, Philip J. Rachid aims to motivate and inspire the new generation filmmakers to keep going and to make a difference.
Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
Dr Nawal Al-Hosany is the Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and she has been recently appointed as an advisor to HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber the UAE Minister of State. Dr Al-Hosany’s career spans business and academia, both in the UAE and internationally. Dr. AlHosany served as the Deputy Director General of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA). Prior to this, she was the Executive Director of Sustainability at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, and the Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the UAE’s annual global awards for renewable energy and sustainability. Highly regarded for her expert counsel, she has been invited to sit on several boards and intergovernmental bodies including the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the advisory board of the Payne Institute in Colorado School of Mines and serves as advisory Panel for the Momentum for Change initiative of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Her professional achievements have been widely acknowledged through prestigious awards. In July 2018, Dr Al-Hosany was presented the “Doctor of letters Honoris Causa” from Keele University in the UK in recognition for her achievements in the field of sustainability. Dr Al-Hosany also received the “Arab Woman Award” and the “Emirates Business Women Award”. She graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at the UAE University in 1992 and obtained her PhD from Newcastle University in the UK in 2002. Dr Al-Hosany is also credited as one of the first two Emirati women to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres above sea-level.
UAE-based film producer Ahmed Lotfy has been passionate about film since adolescence and today finds his calling within the budding UAE film movement.
Starting 2011, Lotfy began producing various small-budget projects in the UAE. His experience in business development and his access to a diverse network of resources proving a valuable asset along the way.
As a long-time resident of Abu Dhabi, Lotfy has an abundant knowledge of the Emirate as well as the different cultural communities that shape it. With multiple prospects on the horizon, Lotfy has founded his Abu Dhabi licensed production house, Fidelity Entertainment in 2017.
Fidelity is a dynamic multimedia outfit, with a prevalent focus on the production of local initiatives. With a strong network of individuals across the board on a domestic international scale, Lotfy is a firm believer in a ‘no closed door’ approach.
Michelle is the Managing Director of MENA CineFinance, SPC, an offshore investment fund that deals with entertainment and media projects. She has over 10 years of working in the entertainment industry, before that she worked in the investment business. Previously she was involved with Manex Entertainment, a multiple Oscar winning VFX house and was involved there with business development. She is also the Co-Chairwoman of the UAE Chapter of Women in Film and Television.
Mansoor Al Feeli
Mansoor Al Feeli is an award winning Emirati actor who started his artistic in art & media field in 1989. he introduced a range of media projects such as Local and Arab gulf TV & radio serials, movies, and international short films and long films as well on a different countries screens, in addition so many projects plays in UAE & Arab Gulf.
Notable Films Projects:
Slow Death Short Film – 3 grand prize winner in the Arab World Festival Short Film Award at the Golden Rice its fourteenth session, which was organized in Azrou and Ifranon 23rd – 26th August 2012, Award and Special Jury Film Festival in Oman, And a certificate of appreciation from the Dubai International Film Festival. Some of his other projects include – Dreams of Rice Short Film – 2011, The Smell of Paradise Short Film, Murk Light Short Film, The Line of Freedom Film (in English)
Nujoom Alghanem is an Emirati poet, scriptwriter and award-winning film director. She has published eight poetry volumes and produced 11 films including four short fictions and six feature length documentaries. Her last four documentaries have won several local,regional and international prizes.
She was born in Dubai in 1962. She graduated with MA in Media Production, School of Film, Griffith University in Australia in 1999.
In 1996, she finished her Bachelor degree in Video Production from Ohio University in the United States.
From 1997 until the present, Nujoom has produced, written and directed numerous of fiction, documentary and corporate films. These include feature documentaries like Nearby Sky, Sounds of the Sea, Red Blue Yellow, Amal, Hamama and Al Mureed; short documentaries like The Young Fighter, and Between Two Banks; and short fictions like Salma’s Dinner, The Park, and Ice Cream. Of these works, she won 16 awards and recognition mostly on her work for Amal and Hamama.
Khalid Al Mahmood
Khalid graduated with a degree in Mass Communications – Video and Film Production from the University of Denver in Colorado USA. Khalid then went on to New York to complete a filmmaking course with the NY Film Academy, and then returned to the UAE to work as a producer for Abu Dhabi Media Company. After eight years of producing for news television Khalid then went on to pursue his passions as a freelance filmmaker working on his films or in others as crew and has not turned back since. Khalid has had numerous festival wins for his film Sabeel, was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus 2012, and was named by Screen International as one of the top ten Arab filmmakers to watch. His recent film Don’t Leave Me won Best Muhr Emirati award at the Dubai International Film Festival 2013.
Dahlia Mahmoud is an assistant professor at the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University. Her areas of influence are not by any means confined to one category, as the nature of her art and teaching are highly interdisciplinary and as such include design, culture, visual anthropology and fluid creative professional structures. Her initial academic posits in the United States proved fruitful in teaching variant design classes as well as administrative program planning, most notable, however is her work with the creative youth of the Gulf in her capacity as Graphic Design faculty at both the American University of Kuwait and Zayed University in Dubai.
David Moore is an Antipodean who teaches Narrative Film at the Abu Dhabi Women College.
David finished his second Masters in Film and Television in 2010, specializing in script writing, prior to this his first masters which was in Film Directing and Production, both completed at Australia’s prestigious film school, the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) School of film and television.
David has made many short films, but it wasn’t till he finished at VCA that his films graduated into many international film festivals. Collectively David’s short film has appeared in over 20 Australian and International films competitions, winning and being a finalist on several occasions.
Greg Unrau has over 17 years in film and television production, starting his career in Western Canada where he accepted a variety of roles including writer, producer, director, promotion director, and live program director. He worked his way up from small market TV stations into major markets garnering 22 international, national and regional awards for Documentary, TV Commercials, Public Service Campaigns, Journalism, Corporate Video, Live Specials, and Animation.
In the mid 90’s he moved from Canada to develop and produce video material for multimedia and online learning module sat Singapore Polytechnic. His work in Asia also provided chance to move into education and he began teaching video production part time at the Japan Singapore Institute of Software Technology. He completed a certificate in Teaching Higher Education,followed by a Masters in Education with Sheffield University in the UK, and eventually finished a Master of Arts with the University of Southern Queensland.
Zohra Ait El Jamar
Graduated from the French Institute of Press and holds a master’s degree in political science specialized in media and audiences, she has developed an expertise in offering the right content by analyzing data audiences. She has also conducted a research paper about “split screen and its meanings in cinema and television”.
Former TV programmer for National Geographic Wild channel in Paris she then joined the audiovisual group Canal+ and worked on digital editorial strategies.
Her previous position at the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem has led her to work on strengthening the Palestinian cinema industry by facilitating coproduction and distribution in both Palestine and France.
She has recently been appointed as audiovisual attaché for the Gulf region within the Embassy of France. Her mission will be to enhance cinema and media cooperation between France and the GCCs.