Najwa Najjar (Photo: Najwa Najjar Facebook page)
Palestinian filmmaker Najwa Najjar is among a number of renowned personalities from the field of cinema honoured during the ongoing fifth edition of the Aswan International Film Festival for Women (24-29 June).
Other honourees include chairperson of the Nation Council of Women Maya Morsy, Egyptian actress Elham Shaheen, Egyptian filmmaker Sandra Nashaat, and French actress Macha Meril.
The filmmaker also heads the jury members for the Euro-Mediterranean Film Competition sponsored by the European Union in Egypt in collaboration with EUNIC Egypt. Other members of the jury include Moroccan reporter and Casablanca Film Festival director Fatma Al-Nawaly, Egyptian actor Sherif Ramzy, and Egyptian director and producer Sherif Mandour.
Screenwriter and director Najwa Najjar has worked on numerous documentary and fiction films since 2000.
Her debut feature film ‘Pomegranates and Myrrh’ (2009) was described as “one of the most original, powerful, and internationally acclaimed Palestinian films of recent years.”
Written and directed by Najjar, the film garnered a string of awards, including an award from the Screenplay Development Fund at the Amiens International Film Festival; four awards at the Festival de San Sebastian Cinema in Motion (2008); Best Arab Film Audience Awards at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (2009); the Grand Prix at the Amal Arab European Film Festival (2009); Best Actress and Best Cinematographer at the Muscat International Film Festival (2010); and the Youssef Chahine Grand Prix de Cinema and Special Mention for Best Actress at the Festival International de Cinéma d’Auteur de Rabat (2010).
Najjar’s second award winning feature film ‘Eyes of a Thief’ (2014) won Best Director and Best Actor awards, among many others, and was the Palestinian nomination for the 2015 Oscars Best Foreign Film and the Golden Globe Awards.
Her third feature film, a road trip titled ‘Between Heaven and Earth’, which was shot throughout the country, was selected in the Official Competition of the Cairo International Film Festival and won the Naguib Mafouz award for Best Screenplay (2019). The film also won the Best Feature Audience Award at the Boston Palestine Film Festival, and Best Male Performance at Mostra di Valencia Film Festival and the Audience Award at Middle East Now Film Festival Florence.
Najjar is currently in the development phase for her fourth feature ‘Flowers on the Nile’, which is being shot in Cairo. The filmmaker is also involved with five other established Palestinian filmmakers in a collective piece.
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