Acclaimed Jury will Judge 2016 Muhr Awards at DIFF
Mon Dec 5, 2016
Oscar nominees, screenwriters, directors, poets and art directors confirmed from around the globe
Dubai – 05 December 2016: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is proud to announce the esteemed panel of renowned film industry professionals that will make up the Jury for the prestigious Muhr Awards at the Festival’s 13th edition. Boasting a line-up brimming with award-winning 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 across the Festival from 7 – 14 December 2016.
Since its inception in 2006, the annual Muhr Awards have recognised more than 280 cinematic works and distributed 270 awards through its four categories; Muhr Emirati, Muhr Features, Muhr Short and Muhr Gulf Short.
DIFF’s Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali, commented: “The Muhr Awards have always features an incredibly formidable line-up of work and so it is only fitting that the Jury is filled with some of the most experienced and talented individuals in the industry. Some of them are themselves Muhr alumni who understand the dedication and talent needed to make a truly great film. We work hard to ensure the Muhr Awards provide a platform for the best talent from around the region to showcase their work, and this year is no exception as we bring another quality slate of work to DIFF audiences.”
Heading up DIFF’s Muhr Emirati Competition Jury is renowned Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah. He returns to the Festival as President of the jury as well as a filmmaker with his latest work, ‘Brooks, Meadows and Lovely Faces’, which was featured at Locarno Film Festival and will be showcased as part of DIFF’s Arabian Nights programme. Nasrallah’s film works include ‘Mercedes’ (1993), ‘On Boys, Girls and the Veil’ (1995) and ‘Sheherezad, Tell Me a Story’ (2010), and have premiered at leading international film festivals such as Cannes, Locarno, Venice and Berlin.
He will be joined by award winning Algerian and French producer and director, Salem Brahimi. Known for his hard-hitting stories of hardship, Brahimi is a Muhr alumnus, taking home the Special Jury Prize in Muhr Features for his film ‘Let Them Come’ at DIFF 2015.
Emirati poet, writer, journalist, and broadcaster Adel Khozam completes the Muhr Emirati jury. Known for his breath-taking portrayal of Emirati heritage and culture, he has published three poetry collections, a history of Emirati visual art and has also written music for theatre and the cinema.
Acclaimed artist, screenwriter and director Ulrike Ottinger takes the role of President on the Muhr Feature jury. With a career spanning four decades, Ottinger has set a mark in the non-fiction field with award-winning epics such as ‘China. The Arts – The People’ (1986) and ‘Exile Shanghai’ (1997). Ottinger returns to the Festival for 2016 after showcasing her films ‘The Korean Wedding Chest’ and ‘Under Snow’ in the Cinema of the World programme in 2009 and 2011, respectively.
Palestinian film and stage legend Saleh Bakri will join her, returning to the 2016 edition after moving audiences in the previous Festival with the psychological thriller ‘Zinzana’. Known for his multifaceted portrayals of humanity, Bakri starred as the eponymous protagonist in Italian thriller ‘Salvo’, which won the Critics' Week Grand Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Oscar-nominated Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, who makes her debut at the Festival as part of the Muhr jury. Across her decade-spanning and talented career, Aghdashloo has made waves and turned critics’ heads with her work, including starring opposite Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley in ‘House of Sand and Fog’ (2003).
Joining Aghdashloo is multi-cultural filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming. The Eurasian Canadian filmmaker born in Japan is celebrated for her award-winning, genre-hopping films spanning almost 30 years and tackling themes of family, history and memory. Her latest debut is the animated feature ‘Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming’, starring Sandra Oh and fellow jury member, Shohreh Aghdashloo.
Concluding the Muhr Feature jury is acclaimed Egyptian producer and director Marianne Khoury, known for the compelling and challenging films September 11, Closed Doors and Zelal which won the FIPRESCI at DIFF in 2010.
The Muhr Short and Gulf Short Competition Jury will be headed up by famed Ukranian documentary filmmaker Sergiy Loznytsya. He has directed documentaries since 1996 and won several awards at festivals including Cannes, London, Oberhausen, Paris, Madrid and Toronto. His feature debut ‘MY JOY’ (2010) was in the main competition at Cannes and he has returned regularly to the Dubai International Film Festival, most recently with his non-fiction ‘MAIDAN’ (2014).
He will be joined by the Academy Award and Palme d’Or nominated writer and director, Basil Khalil. Khalil returns to DIFF after winning Best Muhr Short in 2015 for his trage-comedy ‘Ave Maria’.
Completing the Muhr Short and Gulf Short Competition Jury is Mona Khazindar, the first woman and first Saudi ever to be appointed director general of the Institut du Monde Arabe. A prominent figure in Saudi Arabia’s art scene, Khazindar is also vice president and founding member of the Al Mansouria Foundation for Culture and Creativity, the non-profit cultural foundation which aims to promote contemporary Arab art.
The Muhr Awards competition will run throughout the duration of the Dubai International Film Festival, from December 7 – 14 2016. Cinemagoers can buy tickets from the DIFF box office, now open www.dubaifilmfest.com and at the box office at VOX Cinemas Mall of the Emirates. Tickets are also available from the Madinat Arena and Madinat Theatre at Souk Madinat Jumeirah.