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Who will represent Arab cinema at the Academy?

  • Published at 10:35 am July 2nd, 2020
Lebanese composer Khaled Mouzanar and Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri| AFP

We have compiled a list of artistes from the Arab world who have become new additions to the Academy’s membership in 2020

Oscars organizers announced on Tuesday that they invited 819 new members and exceeded the goal to diversify the group’s membership by 2020.

Four years ago, the Academy set a goal to double the number of female members and that of underrepresented communities after the organizers came under fire for allegedly discriminating against Black actors for the most prestigious awards in 2015.

As a result, the class of 2020 is constituted of 45% women, and half of the entire class resides outside the US.

Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson said: “We take great pride in the strides we have made in exceeding our initial inclusion goals set back in 2016, but acknowledge the road ahead is a long one. We are committed to staying the course.” 

“We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” Academy president David Rubin said in a statement.

We have compiled a list of artistes from the Arab world who have become new additions to the Academy’s membership in 2020.


Mai Masri

Since the 1980s, the Amman-born director has brought the plight of the Palestinians to the big screens. Her latest film 3000 Nights, featured at Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, chronicles a woman giving birth to her son in an Israeli prison.


Khaled Mouzanar

The music producer of Caramel, Where do We Go Now? and Capernaum, Khaled is married to director Nadine Labaki. He also served as a co-producer on the Oscar nominated film Capernaum.

Short Films and Feature Animation:

Meryam Joobeur

The Tunisian-American filmmaker was nominated for an Oscar in the short-live action category for her short film Brotherhood.

Mounia Akl

The Lebanese filmmaker’s groundbreaking short film Submarine was selected at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, featured at Toronto International Film Festival and won the Jury Prize at Dubai International Film Festival. 

Ahmad Saleh

The Saudi-born filmmaker’s graduation film titled Ayni won the foreign animation gold medal at the 2016 Student Academy Awards.


Najwa Najjar

The Palestinian-Jordanian writer’s directorial debut Pomegranates and Myrrh screened at various prestigious international film festivals.


Rana Eid

Considered a gem to the Lebanese film industry today, the sound editor’s latest work includes Philippe Aractingi’s Ismaii. She currenty teaches sound for film at the Universite Saint Esprit de Kaslik.


Tarak Ben Ammar

French-Tunisian Tarak Ben Ammar produced American Skin.


Salem Brahimi

The Algerian-British director’s film Let Them Come was featured at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize Muhr Feature Award at Dubai International Film Festival in 2015.

Ali Essafi

The Moroccan screenwriter’s debut General, Nous Voila! (General, Here We Come!) won the special jury award at the Namur Film Festival.

Miranda Yousef

The American-Egyptian director and an acclaimed film editor worked on films like The New Bauhaus and Troubadours).

Malek Bensmail

The French-Algerian director’s The Battle of Algiers, a Film Within History was screened at festivals around the world and won numerous awards.

Tala Hadid

The Iraqi-British filmmaker’s latest film, House in the Fields chronicles the life of an isolated rural Amazigh community in the High Atlas Mountains. She is an award winning director and producer.

Rima Mismar

Serving currently as the executive director of Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, the Lebanese producer served as a jury member at several film festivals.

Hajooj Kuka

The Sudanese documentary film-maker’s debut film Akasha premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2018.


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