Meet The Jury2019-10-17T17:40:14+04:00


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 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.

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 is the Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Dr Al-Hosany’s career spans business and academia, both in the UAE and internationally. Dr. Al-Hosany 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.

Dahlia Mahmoud, a seasoned creative professional and design educator based in Abu Dhabi, currently working with multiple entities on research and development for innovative leadership and skill training for the field of Culture and it’s creative industries. Her experience spans developing various programs for the creative professional field for MENA and GCC economic structures. The main focus of the last decade has been centered on development of creative entrepreneurial businesses and initiatives through the GCC through Design Entrepreneurship Education. This was in aim to nourish the creative economies of the Middle East and support the growth in tandem to the technological boost in the region. With both her graduate degrees in Digital imaging and Photography her time spent in the Middle East prompted her art career shift towards cultural heritage preservation through documenting local narratives in the digital realm. Her latest projects and research primarily focus on the inclusion and representation of indigenous communities on media platforms. On developing creative entrepreneurial projects and designers, she has mentored the setting up of hundreds of startups in the GCC.

Nancy is an award-winning film director, screenwriter and producer residing in Abu Dhabi. Nancy’s passion for film was developed and nurtured in her early years and since graduating from the University of Sydney she has worked extensively in the film industry. Moving to New York City, studying at the Atlantic Acting School and working at Michael Mailer Films allowed her to develop as a screenwriter and film producer however her true passion has always been directing, so whilst working at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, Nancy wrote the award-winning screenplay Daisy which she later directed and won 16 awards for. Soon after finishing Daisy she wrote, produced, directed and starred in Postpartum which was filmed in Saudi Arabia with an amateur all-female film crew, which also has won a numerous number of awards. Nancy went onto filming a few more shorts and music videos. Nancy is now developing feature films at Paton Productions in Abu Dhabi.

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)

Mashael Al Ansari joined the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) in 2017 as a Climate Change Specialist. She is supporting the national and international Climate Change initiatives and activities in the UAE.

Prior to her role in the MOCCAE, Al Ansari served 6 years as a Commercial Advisor at Shell International, overseeing various upstream commercial gas business activities in the MENA region. She also worked as a Marketing Executive at Abu Dhabi Media Group’s commercial and communication department.

Apart from work, she is an Alumni of the Young Future Energy Leader program initiated by Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, and a member of INJAZ (member of Junior Achievement Worldwide). She was selected by the US Department of State as the first female from the GCC region to participate in the Trade, Investment and Financial Transparency Program in Washington DC in 2015. She also became the first Emirati employee who served as the UAE Lead for the MENA Shell Young Professional Network.

Al Ansari graduated from Zayed University with Bachelor degree in Business Science and Marketing (with honors) and an Alumni of the Benedictine University, Chicago. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s degree in Business Administration and International Marketing at the Canadian University Dubai.

Miranda Davidson is the American born founder and CEO of Miranda Davidson Studios which is based in the United Arab Emirates. She started in sports and entertainment shortly after she could walk and her professional career in talent management and casting spans over 20 years.

One of her early influences was the singer Prince, who resides in her hometown of Minneapolis. She spent over 3 and half years traveling along side the pop icon and his NPG band. This experience opened doors and led Miranda to work in Los Angeles with one of Prince’s friends’ actress Kirsti Alley via Warner Brothers Pictures.

She has worked on films such as; “Fast and Furious 7”, Brad Pitt’s “War Machine”, “Star Trek Beyond” and Michael Bay’s “6 Underground” Starring Rayan Reynolds.

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.

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 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.

David Moore completed a Masters in Film & TV and a Masters of Fine Arts in Screenwriting at the leading Australian film school, The Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University. For the past 19 years he has worked as a lecturer of film, screenwriting, art, graphic design, and creative industries in the Middle East, Vietnam and Australia. He has also produced 15 short films, participated in many International film festivals including Abu Dhabi, San Francisco, Calgary, Tabor, Image + Nation – Montreal, and the Commonwealth Film Festival in England. He has won several awards for writing and directing and placed as a finalist many times. David has also written several feature films, a book of short stories and photography, and has exhibited his photography in the Middle East. Prior to becoming an educator, he ran his own creative agency in Sydney, Australia for 13 years. David has been married for 30 years with a 25 year-old son, a 13 year-old daughter, and 3 cats and lives between the UAE and Vietnam and is currently doing a PhD in Film with the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia

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.

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.