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Arab Filmmakers Join The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

From over 350 film industry experts and talents invited to join The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, there are a few Arab film creatives set to represent the Middle East in one of the most revered and respected bodies in the entertainment and international film industry, including British-Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi and Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania.

Ben Hania, whose film, “The Man Who Sold His Skin,” was nominated for the 2020 Academy Awards, and Nabulsi who directed the 2020 Oscar-nominated short film “The Present,” are two of the Arab filmmakers who were invited to join the prestigious Academy. 

Over the past few years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have been working hard at expanding and diversifying its demographics. On Thursday 1st July 2021, announced its list of 395 invitations for new members – this list is just half of the invitees last year. Other regional filmmakers include, independent film producer Ossama Bawardi, known for his short film “Haneen” and Iraqi-Dutch filmmaker Mohamed Al-Daradji, revered for his 2009 war film “Sons of Babylon,” amongst international talents such as American singer-songwriters Janet Jackson and H.E.R., British actors Hugh Bonneville and Robert Pattinson, American actor Issa Rae, and Indian actor Vidya Balan to name just a few. 

According to the Academy, the chosen invitees are people they believe have “distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.”

Looking at the diversity and demographics of the new members, this year’s class consists of 46 percent women, 39 percent underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 53 percent international from 49 countries outside of the US. Among them are 89 Oscar nominees and 25 winners. Last year, over 800 film industry professionals were invited to become Academy members, and at least 15 of those invitees were from the Middle Eastern region, including Lebanese composer Khaled Mouzanar, Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri and Tunisian director Meryam Joobeur. 

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