An icon of the Egyptian film industry, Esaad Younis is a revered figure loved by audiences and celebrated for her work promoting Egyptian cinema and culture.
A multi-talented and multi-faceted champion of Egyptian film and television, Younis has played many roles within this industry. Her impressive reputation as actress, producer, distributor, screenwriter, comedienne, talk show host and social commentator has been, in recent years, augmented by her pioneering work as a global campaigner against film piracy.
Embarking upon her professional journey as a tour guide, then as a presenter on Middle East Radio, Younis quickly became a much beloved and celebrated actress of stage and screen. She began her acting career in the TV series Mizo (1977). Her ability to captivate audiences was confirmed with her brilliant comedic performance in groundbreaking odd-couple television comedy Bakiza and Zaghloul (1987) and subsequent feature film adaptation, both of which she wrote and starred in. Lauded on stage for Al Dokhool Bel Malabes Al Rasmeya, Younis starred in many successful and long-running television, feature film and theatre productions.
Three decades after her first appearances on screen, Younis received widespread critical acclaim for her role in one of Egypt’s biggest budget and most internationally successful films, the multiaward winning The Yacoubian Building.
In 2000, she co-founded and was appointed CEO of Al Arabia Cinema, one of the largest producers, distributors and exhibitors in Egypt. Under her leadership, Al Arabia Cinema has distributed more than 500 feature films, and has produced close to 100. Al Arabia is known for promoting the diversity of Egyptian cinema with films spanning all genres from blockbusters such as Alzheimer starring mega-star Adel Emam to critically acclaimed festival favourites like Dawoud Abdel Sayed’s Messages from the Sea which screened at festivals around the world and was selected as Egypt’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards®. Al Arabia’s Renaissance subsidiary, operates a high market share of the country’s multiplex screens.
As the Vice President of the Egyptian Chamber of Cinema, Younis has been a leader in developing, promoting and preserving the Egyptian cinema industry, and is a vocal and high-visibility defender of the rights of artists, leading the charge against intellectual property theft, pursuing dozens of illegal internet download sites and also satellite service channels illegally broadcasting Egyptian films. Speaking at the World Intellectual Property Organisation Conference in 2011, Younis urged audiences to consider the erosion of culture and heritage which is the necessary result of undermining copyright. Her passion and ongoing commitment to the campaign is internationally respected.
Esaad Younis divides her time both behind and in front of the camera, currently hosting the number one CBC entertainment program, Sahebat Al Saada, which has been awarded Best Program for the last two years by Egypt’s prestigious DG Awards.
A prolific and powerfully opinionated writer, Younis has written four books, and more than 400 articles via a weekly column for two of Egypt’s leading newspapers, Al Shorouk and Al Masry El Yom. For 14 years she has been a contributor to Al Shabab Magazine.
Esaad Younis joins an eminent list of respected film practitioners from Asia Pacific who have been honoured with the FIAPF Award over the previous eight years of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. As an artist and business leader, as a champion for her country, her culture and her industry, she is richly deserving of the 2015 APSA FIAPF Award. FIAPF President Luis Alberto Scalella warmly welcomes Esaad Younis to the FIAPF Hall of Fame.
The Asia Pacific Screen Academy expresses its respect for and acknowledgement of the South East Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of country, including the custodial communities on whose land works are created and celebrated by the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. We acknowledge the continuing connection to land, waters and communities. We also pay our respects to Elders, past and emerging. We recognise the integral role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations peoples continue to play in storytelling and celebration spaces.