The list of 101 Most Influential Personalities in the Arab film industry represented 22 countries, 13 Arab and nine non-Arab countries.
Arab Cinema Center has launched the list of 101 Most Influential Personalities in the Arab film industry at Cannes Film Festival.
For the third year in a row, Tunisian actor-director Hend Sabri has bagged a position in the most influential personalities list. Alongside the Cairo-based star, Jordanian actor-producer Saba Mubarak has also made it to the list.
Sabri’s starring performance as the title character in the Tunisian film Noura’s Dream, which premiered in the annual Venice International Film Festival in 2019, won her the best actor award at the El Gouna Film Festival. Besides her active work in Egypt in films and TV series, including a starring role in the upcoming US $10m Egyptian period blockbuster Kira & El Gin, Sabri has just finished filming her first Netflix TV series, an Egyptian drama-comedy called Looking For Ola that she is producing.
Meanwhile, Mubarak will be seen in several prominent Arab cinema productions premiering soon. She will appear in Egyptian screenwriter Mohamed Diab’s Amira this year, a coming-of-age drama that explores the real-life phenomenon of Palestinian children conceived through vitro fertilization. Mubarak will also star in the feature debut of Jordanian director Zaid Abu Hamdan Daughters of Abdelrahman, which is being produced by her company Pan East Media.
Also, Saudi filmmakers Haifaa Al-Mansour and Hana Al-Omair have been selected by the Arab Cinema Center for their list.
Al-Mansour has long led the way for Saudi cinema. Her 1997 short film Who? and the 2005 documentary Women in the Shadows helped boost the women’s empowerment movement across the region. In 2012, her film Wadjda was the first feature to be shot entirely in the Kingdom, going on to achieve worldwide acclaim and a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the BAFTAs.
Al-Mansour’s latest comedy-drama, The Perfect Candidate, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August 2019. It made history as the first film supported by the Saudi Film Council, which announced its intention to back Saudi productions and expand the country’s film industry during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
Meanwhile, Al-Omair is the writer and director of Whispers, the first Saudi Netflix original series. It is an eight-part psychological thriller about a family torn apart when its patriarch, Hassan, dies in an accident just before the launch of his company’s much anticipated new app — and by the secrets that begin to unfold once he’s gone.
The list of influential professionals also includes Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, Palestinian director and actress Hiam Abbass, Egyptian actors Ahmed Ezz, Ahmed Malek, Karim Abdel Aziz and many more.
In an annual tradition, the “Golden 101” lists the names of individuals, companies, and institutions who have made the most significant waves over the past two years in Arab filmmaking, regionally and internationally. This longer-than-usual qualifying period is because of Covid-enforced interruptions in the last 18 months.
Chosen for their recent contributions to Arab-language cinema rather than their sway over the television or digital media business, this year’s entries come from 13 different Arab countries and nine non-Arab countries. While Egypt continues to dominate in numerical terms, Saudi Arabia has a noticeably bigger presence now.