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DIFF Archive

Explore DIFF’s Archive

Heralded by Variety magazine as one of the world’s “50 unmissable film festivals“, DIFF has cemented its reputation as the ultimate destination to discover films from the Arab world and beyond. The archive gives you access to the films, juries, galleries, press releases and more from the first edition in 2004 through to the current edition.

Juries 2008

Muhr Arab Feature

Sergei Bodrov (President)

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, writer, producer and director Sergei Bodrov was born and raised in Siberia. He worked as a journalist, before becoming a scriptwriter, with over 20 productions to his name including co-writing ‘East-West’. He is best known for his 1996 Oscar-nominated film ‘Prisoner Of The Mountains’, which also won a FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at Cannes. His most recent production, ‘Mongol’ (2008) also received an Academy Award Nomination for ‘Best Foreign Film’. He lives in Moscow, Germany, Kazakhstan and Arizona.


One of Egypt’s best known actresses, Lebleba has appeared in over 80 films, working with the likes of Youssef Chahine, Niazi Mustafa, Ali Idris. Having been honoured by film institutions around the world, she remains an icon of North African cinema. She is also a popular singer, best known for her children’s songs including ‘Papa Habibi’ and ‘Hasalty’. She has regularly sat on committees for a number of film festivals.

Ahmed El Maanouni

Born in Morocco in 1944, filmmaker Ahmed el Maanouni studied at the International Theatre University and the Sorbonne, in Paris. He is a founding member of the Arab Filmmakers Association in France. During an illustrious career, he has been repeatedly honoured for his films, many of which revisit key moments in Moroccan history. Key works include ‘Al Koloub Al Mouhtariqua (Burned Hearts)’ (2007), (Grand Prize, Critics Prize and Best Sound Prize at the 2007 National Film Festival in Tangiers; Muhr Award for Best Cinematography, Dubai International Film Festival 2007), a documentary trilogy ‘Morocco-France: A History In Common’ (2006) and ‘Al Hal’ (1982).

Ahdaf Soueif

Ahdaf Soueif is a bestselling Egyptian author, political and cultural commentator, widely regarded as one of the most eminent voices of contemporary Arabic literature today. Based in London and Cairo, she has published a series of best-selling works, including ‘The Map Of Love’ and‘In The Eye Of The Sun’, and a collection of political analysis and comment. Last year, Ahdef Soueif established Engaged Events, a UK-based charity which launched the Palestinian Festival Literature which took place in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah this year.

Christoph Thoke

As executive for production and acquisition for Taunusfilm and CineMedia, Christoph Thoke oversaw international production activities, before launching Thoke + Moebius Film in 2003, which to date, has produced over 330 festival selections and 70 award-winning titles. He has recently launched a new firm, Mogador Film.

Muhr Arab Documentary

Geoffrey Gilmore (President)

Geoffrey Gilmore has been Director of the Sundance Film Festival since 1990, as well as being a consultant for the Sundance Channel since 1996. He has directed the Sundance Institute’s Annual Independent Producers Conference for 17 years, during which time he has organized and overseen numerous international and national projects and symposia. Gilmore also lectures at the Department of Film and Television at UCLA, and has been on the board of cultural bodies including the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Rockefeller Foundation, amongst others.

Jehane Noujaim

Jehane Joujaim grew up in Egypt and worked as a photographer and filmmaker there before moving to the US to study Visual Arts and Philosophy at Harvard University. On graduation, she won the Gardiner Fellowship, making ‘Mokattam’ before co-directing and prodcuing the award-winning ‘’ (2001), and control Room 2004..

Hany Abu-Assad

Born in Nazareth in 1961, Hany Abu-Assad worked as an airplane engineer before turning to film. His debut short film, ‘Paper House’ (1992) was the first in a series of films addressing life in the occupied territories of Palestine, many of which have won awards at film festivals worldwide. His 2005 film, ‘Paradise Now’ was a major global hit, premiering at the Berlin Film Festival in 2005 and going on to scoop the Blue Angel Award for Best European Film, the Berliner Morgenpost Readers Prize and the Amnesty International Award for Best Film, as well as the Golden Globe Award for best Foreign Language film. It was also nominated for an Academy Award in 2006.

Muhr Arab Short

Khairy Beshara (President)

Khairy Beshara was born in Tanta, Egypt in 1947. Considered one of the country’s master directors, he was a pioneer of realism in Egyptian cinema, with films such as ‘The Collar And The Bracelet’ (1986), ‘Sweet Day, Bitter Day’ (1988) and ‘Ice Cream In Gleem’ (1992) redefining the function and potential of cinematic form. With an impressive string of awards and honours from film festivals and institutions stretching back over an illustrious career, Beshara’s wealth of experience and continuously evolving artistic vision marks him out as one of the true icons of contemporary cinema.

Carmen Lebbos

Carmen Lebbos is an award-winning Lebanese actress, who has starred in some of the most popular films to have come out of the Levant region in recent years. Starring roles in ‘West Beyrouth’ (1998), ‘Lila Says’ (2004), ‘Zozo’ (2005), Whatever Lola Wants’ (2007) and ‘Falling From Earth’ (2007), amongst others, have brought her acclaim and recognition worldwide.

Lars Henrik Gass

German writer and curator Lars Henrik Gass has published essays and articles on cinema and photography, taught at universities and academies, served on the jury of the German Short Film Award, headed up the European Institute of Documentary Film, and for the past decade, has been the director of the International Oberhausen Short Film Festival.

Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature

Adoor Gopalakrishnan (President)

The internationally-acclaimed, award-winning Keralan director Adoor Gopalakrishnan has been consistently feted at festivals around the world during his 36-year career, while maintaining a steady output of acclaimed films for Malayayalam audiences, ranging from full-length features to shorts and documentaries. A Pune Film Institute alumnus – later to return as its director - Gopalakrishnan established the Chitralekha Film Society and was a founding member of the influential Film Co-Operative Society, which pioneered a new era of cinema in the region.

Niki Karimi

Born in Tehran in 1971, Niki Karimi is an award-winning actress, director, critic and translator. Having starred in over 20 films, Karimi moved behind the camera for 2003’s ‘To Have And Have Not’, produced by Abbas Kiarostami. Her next directorial project, ‘One Night’ (2005) was nominated at Cannes, followed by ‘A Few Days Later’ (2006).

Christian Jeune

Christian Jeune is Deputy General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, responsible for representing the Festival abroad and scouting films, particularly from Asian territories. Having worked at the Festival in a number of positions since 1983, Jeune brings a wealth of experience and expertise gained over twenty-five years at the world’s leading cinema event.

Olivier Barlet

Olivier Barlet is a journalist, critic and author, based in Paris. He is a member of the Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma, delegate for Africa at the Cannes Festival Critics Week, and is a film correspondent for Africultures and Continental. Having authored a number of acclaimed books and features on African cinema, Barlet is today regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on contemporary African cinema.

Park Ki-Yong

Born in Seoul in 1961, Park Ki-Yong graduated from the Korean Academy Of Film Arts in 1987 and produced a number of films, making his directorial debut in 1987 with ‘Motel Cactus’, followed by ‘Camel(s)’ in 2002. In 2001, he became Head Professor at the Korean Academy of Film Arts, rising to Executive Director in 2003. Since 2005, Park has occupied various senior positions at the annual Asian Film Academy

Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary

Peter Scarlet (President)

The former executive director of Tribeca Film Festival, is a recognised name in the international film community, Scarlet earlier served as the Head of the San Francisco Film Festival.

Jean-Marie Teno

Born in Cameroon Jean-Marie Teno has been producing and directing feature, short and documentary films, exploring the colonial and post-colonial history of Africa over the past twenty years and the subsequent shape of contemporary African society. From 1985’s ‘Hommage’ to ‘Le Malentendu Colonial (The Colonial Misunderstanding)’(2004), he has striven to present passionate discussion on the effects of migration, power and politics around the continent.

Yano Kazuyuki

Yano Kazuyuki worked at the Japan Foundation, before establishing Japan’s pre-eminent art house film distribution network, Cinematrix. He was also instrumental in founding the biennial Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in 1989, where he has been a director ever since.

Muhr AsiaAfrica Short

Naomi Kawase (President)

Naomi Kawase is a renowned Japanese film director, who graduated from the Osaka School of Photography in 1989. Her first 35mm production, ‘Moe No Suzako’ (1997) won the Camera d’Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival, making her its youngest ever recipient. She won the Grand Prix at Cannes for ‘Mogari no Mori’ in 2007.

Dorothee Wenner

Dorothee Wenner is based in Berlin, where she works as a freelance filmmaker and journalist. She has been on the selection committee of the International Forum of New Cinema since 1990 and serves as the Berlinale’s special representative for India and sub-Saharan Africa. From July 2004 to December 2005 she curated the EU-funded project “Import Export: Cultural Transfer between India and Germany, Austria.” She became the director of the Berlinale Talent Campus in August 2006.

Jeremy Nathan

South African producer Jeremy Nathan has worked across the African continent over the past twenty years, with directors from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Nigeria, Tunisia and Senegal. He founded Dv8, a local initiative that develops, finances, produces and distributes South African films..

FIPRESCI Feature & Short

Jean Roy (President)

Born in Nancy, France, Jean Roy was the film critic for ‘Cinéma’ magazine between 1979 and 1988, the weekly title ‘Révolution between 1980 and 1986 and the daily paper ‘L’Humanité’, since 1984. He has also authored a number of books, including titles on the films of John Ford and an appraisal of ‘Citizen Kane’. A former director of the French Federation of Film Societies, former general secretary of the French Film Critics Guild, former director of the Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival, Roy is currently Vice-President of the French Film Journalists Union, member of the board of FIPRESCI as well as being a regular panellist on festival juries worldwide.

Rui Tendhina

Portuguese-born Rui Tendhina is a renowned film critic, who writes for Notícias Magazine (the Sunday supplement of Diário de Notícias and of Jornal de Notícias). Having amassed a wealth of experience writing and broadcasting on film, Tendhina has also directed short films and co-produced

Latika Padgaonkar

Editor, critic, academic and translator, Latika Padgaonkar is an internationally-renowned expert on Asian film. With experience ranging from UNESCO to serving on juries of 
film festivals worldwide, she was also editor of ‘Cinemaya, The Asian Film Quarterly’ based in New Delhi.

Mahmoud Jemni

Freelance film critic and journalist Mahmoud Jemni has worked extensively within North African cinema, having served on festival juries, directed three films for children, authored a book on Tunisian film and acted as an advisor for an Arab film festival in Barcelona.

Hussein Bayoumy Hassan

Egyptian film critic and member of Egyptian Film Critics Association (EFCA) and FIPRESCI, Hussein Bayoumy Hassan has written a number of books about aspects of Egyptian cinema, as well as participating in festival juries worldwide.
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