Palestine

Hany Abu-Assad

Hany Abu-Assad directed the often-debated 2006 film Paradise Now, which won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and was also nominated for the Academy Award in the same category (representing Palestine for the first time in history). The story of two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, Paradise Now made its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Blue Angel Award for Best European Film, the Berliner Morgenpost Readers‘ Prize and the Amnesty International Award for Best Film.
Abu-Assad previously had an international hit with 2002’s Rana’s Wedding, the story of a young Jerusalem woman trying to get married before four o’ clock. The film was selected for the Cannes Critics Week and went on to win prizes at Montpellier, Marrakech, Bastia and Cologne.
Abu-Assad’s other credits include 2011’s English language The Courier, starring Jeffery Dean Morgan, Til Schweiger and Mickey Rourke, and the 2002 documentary, Ford Transit, the portrait of a Ford Transit taxi driver and the resilient inhabitants of Palestinian territories.
Abu-Assad was born in Nazareth, Palestine, in 1961. After having studied and worked as an airplane engineer in the Netherlands for several years, Abu-Assad entered the world of cinema as a producer. He produced the 1994 feature film Curfew, directed by Rashid Masharawi. In 1998, Abu-Assad directed his first feature, The 14Th Chick, from a script by writer Arnon Grunberg.

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Lebanon

Zeina Daccache

Zeina Daccache is a Lebanese actress and director-producer-writer of documentaries. In 2007 she founded the NGO Catharsis-Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy, which brought the innovative tools of drama therapy to Lebanon. Her work there led to the theatrical production known as 12 Angry Lebanese featuring inmates of Roumieh Prison. This show was later filmed for the documentary of the same name and she was nominated for an APSA for Best Documentary Feature as well as winning the Dubai International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award. The show and film led to the implementation of Law 463 in 2009 (the reduction of sentences for good behavior). Her second feature documentary, Scheherazade’s Diary (2013), won ten international awards including Dubai’s FIPRESCI Prize.

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Dương Bích Hạnh is an anthropologist with a strong commitment to gender equality, cultural diversity and human rights. She is currently leading the Culture Unit at the UNESCO Bangkok Office, covering the Mekong cluster countries and coordinating a number of regional projects in Asia and the Pacific. Her work involves supporting the countries to implement UNESCO’s six cultural conventions and promoting the role of culture and creativity in sustainable development. Before joining UNESCO in 2009, she worked with NGOs and research institutes on projects on issues concerning ethnic minority groups in Viet Nam and Southeast Asia.

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