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Meet the Juries: 22 international filmmakers to judge Cairo Film Festival competitions

Meet the Juries: 22 international filmmakers to judge Cairo Film Festival competitions

The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) has unveiled the complete list of jury members that will sit for its 42nd edition, taking place on 2-10 December. 

This year’s festival will be held at the Cairo Opera House, and boasts 83 films from 43 countries, including 20 world and international premieres. Listed below is a rundown of the festival’s juries:

International Competition

Jury President: Director/scriptwriter Alexander Sokurov is one of Russia’s most celebrated filmmakers. His films have screened at international film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, and Venice. His most remarkable works include Russian Ark, which was an official selection at Cannes 2002. He received the Visions Award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in the same year. His film Faust won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2011.

Karim Aïnouz: An award-winning Brazilian filmmaker, screenwriter and visual artist. His films have received international awards, including the “Un Certain Regard” section at Cannes in 2019 for his film The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao. He is a screenwriter tutor and member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Burhan Qurbani: A renowned German director whose shorts received several international awards. His feature films screened at world prestigious festivals, including the Berlinale, where his latest film Berlin Alexanderplatz was an official selection.

Gaby Khoury: An Egyptian producer and the CEO of Misr International Films, founded in 1972 by the late legendary Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine. He has produced a wide variety of critically acclaimed films, documentaries, and TV series. 

Lebleba: An award-winning Egyptian actress who made her first foray into acting at the age of five. Her extended repertoire includes 85 films that have won her several awards for best actress.

Naian González Norvind: A Mexican multi-award- winning Film/TV/Theatre actress and writer. She received several awards for best actress from several international film festivals. Recently, she starred in Michel Franco’s New Order, and is a winner of the Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2020. The film will be screened at Cairo International Film Festival.

Najwa Najjar: A Palestinian filmmaker who has written, directed, and produced more than a dozen award-winning films that have received wide critical acclaim. Her films have landed world premieres at Cairo, Berline, Cannes, Locarno, and Sundance. In 2020, she was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

Horizons of Arab Cinema

Yosra El Lozy: An Egyptian actress from an Egyptian father and a Syrian mother. She started her film career with veteran director Youssef Chahine when she was in high school, with the legendary director picking her for a role in his film Alexandria… New York. The film was screened at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival in the “Un Certain Regard” section in 2004. Her films also include: True Colours, Heliopolis, and Microphone.

Ali Mostafa: An Emirati director and producer, his short film Under the Sun participated in The Emirati Films competition in 2006, and won the Best Emirati Filmmaker in 2007. His feature film From A to B marks the first Emirati film to open the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Zeina Daccache: A Lebanese actress, writer and director. Her documentary film, 12 Angry Lebanese, won the Arab Muhr Award for Best Documentary at Dubai International Film Festival in 2009. Among her films is Annie, which features women inmates of the Baabda prison, all of whom shared their personal stories in an attempt to heal their wounds.

Critics Week

Ivan Ikić: A renowned Serbian director, Ikić has made several shorts and documentaries that have won awards at international festivals. This includes Barbarians (2014), his feature film debut, which won the Special Jury Prize in the East of the West programme at Karlovy Vary Film Festival. His film, Oasis (2020), premiered at 77th Venice Film Festival in the Giornate Degli Autori section.

Mohamed Farrag: An Egyptian actor with a degree in Business from Cairo University. Started his career in 2000, Farrag has been nominated for numerous awards. In 2016, he was awarded the Best Actor award from the Egyptian National Film Festival for his role in Ot wi Far (Cat and Mouse). In 2019, he was awarded by the Egyptian Film Critics Association as the best actor for his role in El Mamar (The Passage).

Ola Al-Sheikh: Al-Sheikh is a Palestinian/Jordanian journalist and film critic who writes for several Arab and foreign newspapers and websites, and a film programmer at various film festivals. She has served as a jury member in several film festivals, as well as on the Selection Committee of the Palestinian film competing for the Oscar Award for best international film. 

Cinema of Tomorrow – International Competition for Short Films

Tizian Büchi: A film programmer and director from Switzerland. He graduated in Cinema History and Aesthetics from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), as well as from the Institut des Arts de Diffusion in Belgium as a filmmaker. He worked as a programmer for several film festivals, including the Locarno Film Festival. His short films, To the Top and The Sound of Winter have been selected and awarded at numerous international film festivals. He is currently editing his debut feature film, L’ilot.

Riham Abdel Ghafour: An Egyptian actress whose acting career began in several TV series, before she starred in the films Sehr El Oyoun and Saheb Sahbo in 2000. She received several awards throughout her career. Her films include: Malaky Eskendryia, Galatny Mogrem, Al-Khalia, and Sook Al-Goma.

Anissa Daoud: The Tunisian actress, director, and producer was known initially as a multi-award-winning actress, then as a producer, and more recently a director. As a film director, she made the feature documentary Our Women in Politics and Society, and the short film Best Day Ever, which opened the Directors Fortnight at the 71st Cannes Film Festival. She is currently developing the script of her first feature fiction film Les Immorteles.

Best Arab Film

Mochine Besri: A Moroccan director and writer. He co-wrote the film Opération Casablanca, a feature film directed by Laurent Nègre, before directing his debut feature Les Mécréants. His work includes other films like Laaziza and Une Urgence Ordinaire.

Mohammed Alomda: A Sudanese director and producer. He was appointed head of film programming at Sudan Film Factory and a film programmer at Sudan Independent Film Festival. Later he co-founded Station Films which coproduced You Will Die at Twenty. The film premiered at Venice and won the Lion of the Future Award.

May Odeh: A Palestinian director and producer. Her films include: Maradona’s Legs, The Crossing, and Drawing for Better Dreams. Her first feature film as producer, 200 Meters, debuted at the Venice Film Festival. The film was Jordan’s official submission to the Oscar’s best foreign language film.


Yacout Deeb: An Egyptian film critic and researcher. He writes for many arts and culture magazines and specialised newspapers. He holds a PhD in Film Criticism from the Academy of Arts, and has written a number of books in the field of cinema.

Elena Rubashevska: An Ukrainian Journalist and film critic, Elena worked as a director and screenwriter, creating media content for non-governmental organisations and socially responsible businesses. She is also a programme coordinator at the OKO International Ethnographic Film Festival.

Anders E. Larsson: He is a critic, writer, editor, and producer from Sweden. Over the years, he has been editor-in-chief for culture magazines, and editor for the culture sections of several daily newspapers. He also composed the music for the feature film Garden Lane in 2018, which won a Guldbagge, Sweden’s equivalent to the Academy Awards. Beginning next year, he will take over as the new festival director for Lund International Fantastic Film Festival, the oldest and foremost genre film festival in Sweden.

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