The Jury of the 19th Edition of Al Ard Film Festival

Jury of the festival for the 19th edition


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Al Ard Film Festival, one of the most popular European film Festivals about Palestine and the Arab world, is returning to Cagliari’s Teatro Massimo from February 21st to 25th, 2023.

We’re excited to reveal our Jury who will be assessing and discussing the chosen films to award 4 out of 7 prizes. The jury will only be judging films in the documentary category, both short and long features, while the festival organisers will award the fiction category films.

Members of the Jury

Leading the Jury as usual, and keeping her title of “Madrina del Festival” is Monica Maurer, German independent filmmaker born in Munich. She completed her studies in Sociology and Communication Sciences at universities in Munich and Berlin, and began her career as a journalist for various newspapers in Germany as well as the US radical magazine “Ramparts”. In the 1960s, she transitioned to making films independently and between 1977 and 1982, she collaborated with the Palestinian Cinema Institution and the Information Department of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Currently, she is working on digitising her film archive and creating a project titled “SHOOTING REVOLUTION”. In addition, she is a member of the Board of AAMOD (Archive of the Working Class Movement).

We are also excited to welcome back Ibrahim Nasrallah, legendary Palestinian writer and poet, as a member of our Jury. He has published collections of poetry, novels, and children’s books, and has won numerous awards including the Owais award for poetry in 1997, the Arrar prize (1991), and the Tayseer Sbool Prize (1994). His novel “The Time of White Horses” was a finalist for the Arabic Booker, and in 2018 he won the International prize for Arabic Fiction Award for his novel “The Second War of the Dog”.

Another returning member of our Jury is Wasim Dahmash, a Palestinian author, academic, and translator who was born in Syria. He is former professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of Cagliari and Arabic dialectology at the University of Rome La Sapienza. Primarily interested in literary translation and Arabic dialectology, with a focus on the Syrian-Palestinian area, Wasim Dahmash is the founder of EdizioniQ, a publishing organisation that publishes translations of Palestinian and Arab literary works in general.

Antonello Zanda, a member of the Jury for many years, is the director of the Centro Servizi Culturali of the Società Umanitaria – Cineteca Sarda in Cagliari. He is a writer and critic who has published essays on literature, anthropology, philosophy, fine arts, and cinema. He is also a freelance journalist and contributes to various magazines.

Franca Gabriella Piras, formerly professor of Italian Literature at the Faculty of Education and Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Cagliari, is also a member of the Jury for the third year in a row. She has been a volunteer member of Associazione Amicizia Sardegna Palestina for decades and collaborates with Edizioni Q as reviewer and copywriter.

Patrizia Manduchi, a professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Cagliari, teaches History of the Arab World. She is the president of the interdisciplinary centre GramsciLab. Her research interests include contemporary Arab politics, with a focus on the spread and reception of Gramsci’s thought in the Arab world, on opposition movements and on the development of Islamic fundamentalism. She has always followed the events of the major conflicts in the Middle East with great attention.

Filippo Kalomenìdis, a writer and screenwriter, comes back as a member of Al Ard Jury for the second year. He has published La direzione è storta – Reportage lirico sul Covid 19 e i virus del potere (Homo scrivens publisher, 2021) and Per tutte, per ciascuna, per tutti, per ciascuno – Canti contro la guerra dell’Italia agli ultimi (DEA Editions, 2022) with Collettivo Eutopia. He is the screenwriter of Io sono con te (directed by Guido Chiesa, 2010) and author of TV series, including Il Grande Gioco (Sky Atlantic, 2022).

Andrea Mura is a graduate of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in documentary and docu-fiction, and holds a degree in Philosophy. Drawn to popular traditions, which often feature in his work, Andrea Mura has directed and edited various documentaries, short films and commercials, and has participated in international festivals such as the Festival del Mediterraneo – Primed (Marseille), RAI Film Festival (Bristol), Minority Film Festival (Husum, Germany), Immagini e suoni del mondo (Florence), See you sound (Turin), Life after oil (Santa Teresa di Gallura), Skepto Film Festival and Babel Film Festival (Cagliari). Since 2014, he has been the artistic director of the Sole Luna Doc-film Festival (Palermo and Treviso). In 2018, he founded Ginko Film, a film production company, with Chiara Andrich and Giovanni Pellegrini. Andrea Mura will be returning as a Jury member this year.

New Entries

Moreover, for this upcoming edition of Al Ard Film Festival, we have two new fresh faces who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience in the film industry:

Almohannad Kalthoum is a Syrian filmmaker with a Master’s degree in TV & Cinema from Kharkov Academy in Ukraine and a Bachelor’s degree in Art from the same institution. He has been a film director at the Syrian Ministry of Culture’s General Cinema Foundation since. He is also a certified International Trainer “Film Direction” at the British Academy for Education and Training TTDA. In addition, Almohannad is the founder and technical director of the “Yalla Cinema” project, which trains children in cinema arts and sciences under the Syrian Ministry of Culture since 2017. He also founded and directs Damascus Film Days for childhood and adolescent films since 2018 and was Technical Director of the Safaqes International Festival for Mediterranean Cinema- Tunis from 2017 to 2018. Additionally, he taught directing programs, documentary and short films at the Media Preparation Institute in Damascus from 2012 to 2016 and has been a member of arbitration committees in various film festivals in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Sudan, Russia, Italy, Tunisia, and Algeria.

May Odeh is a Palestinian producer and filmmaker. She recently produced “Hanging Gardens“, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2022. May Odeh is also known for producing “200 Meters” by Ameen Nayfeh, a film that received 27 awards worldwide and was Jordan’s official submission for the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2020, Variety named May as the MENA Talent of the Year. She is also the founder of ODEH FILMS, a production company that aims to produce and distribute creative documentary and fiction films. With Zorana Mušikić she recently founded Mayana Films, a production company based in Berlin and Munich that focuses on independent international cinema. May also curates and organizes various film programs, including the Palestine Film Platform and Mobile Cinema, which aims to tour villages and communities in Occupied Palestine’s area C to screen entertainment films for families and children.

Al Ard Film Festival is thrilled to host this diverse and accomplished group as our Jury for this upcoming edition. With a range of backgrounds, they bring a great deal of expertise to the table, making for an exciting and enlightening festival experience. The festival will take place from February 21st to February 25th, 2023 at the Teatro Massimo in Cagliari, Sardinia.

We look forward to welcoming you to the festival and hope you will join us in celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Palestine and the Arab world through the medium of film.