Who is a Palestinian Filmmaker?

In Analysis on December 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm

There is no one single authoritative directory of Palestinian filmmakers. There are numerous compilations created by various cultural activists who volunteered to publish and update such lists.

The experiences of exile and ethnic cleansing have scattered Palestinian filmmakers allover the globe, making the act of tracking them and their films a difficult challenge. But thanks to the internet, this task has become simpler.

But just as technology helped locate Palestinian filmmakers, it also conspired to complicate the challenge of tracking them.  Before the digital filmmaking revolution, the task of counting Palestinian filmmakers was an easier one.  Back in the 80s there were about a dozen filmmakers who established their names.  This is no longer the case.

Soon as inexpensive digital filmmaking made its debut in the Arab World, many talented Palestinian storytellers were ready to leverage the powerful medium of cinema to tell their stories.  Before, filmmaking was relegated to the wealthy few or those who had access to Western or government sources of funding, which oftentimes came with a stigma that took the In out of Independence. But it was about the only way to make Palestinian films.

Inexpensive digital filmmaking changed the landscape of Palestinian cinema forever.  New Palestinian names rose to prominence.  The list of filmmakers who call themselves Palestinians grew exponentially over the last decade or so.  It seems many directory administrators were unable to keep up with the burgeoning population of Palestinian filmmakers.  So some resorted to only tracking “celebrity” filmmakers, others went after “big budget” films, another group listed only filmmakers they liked.

Additionally, our directory of Palestinian filmmakers was assembled in response to the recent phenomena of politicizing Palestinian cultural references. This resulted in directories and references that excluded or included Palestinian artists based on their political affiliations or associations.

In our effort to compile a more comprehensive list of Palestinian filmmakers, we have consulted with a number of Palestinian cultural activists, researched festival websites, and gathered data from other existing lists.

Now comes the tricky part. Who is a Palestinian filmmaker?

We needed to arrive at a definition that provided some clarity to the task.  To us, a Palestinian filmmaker is a filmmaker with his or her origins in historic Palestine and who was involved in the production of a film about the Palestinian Israeli conflict be it a short or a feature film, fiction or non-fiction, experimental or classic.  But a film which has received reasonable attention either in Palestinian, Arab, or international film festivals.  In rare situations, non-Palestinian Arab filmmakers are categorized as Palestinian filmmakers if they have dedicated a significant effort to the making of Palestinian films.

Admittedly, the rise of Arab satellite TV and the blurring of lines between the TV documentary and the so-called documentary film added a significant number of Palestinian filmmakers to the directory.  It’s fair to expect some directories to limit their tracking to Palestinian filmmakers who make fiction films, others non-fiction.

For phase II, we will add more information to the names such as filmography and basic biographical information as well as contact information, if the filmmaker so chooses.

Since the web is an interactive medium, we encourage readers to notify us of missing names or if they see a name that’s not of a Palestinian filmmaker.

We don’t claim this list is complete, but we hope it’s fairly comprehensive and can serve as an additional reference for researchers and film festivals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Abed Al-Kateb is a Palestinian-American cultural activist specializing in Palestinian cinema history.


Palestinian Film Festivals and Experts

In Festivals on December 29, 2009 at 12:51 pm


  1. Chicago Palestine Film Festival
  2. PFF | The Palestine Film Foundation
  3. Palestinian Film Festival– Australia
  4. Boston Palestine Film Festival
  5. Toronto Palestine Film Festival
  6. Houston Palestine Film Festival
  7. Providence Palestinian Film Festival
  8. Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival
  9. Canada Palestine Film Festival


  1. Gaza International Film Festival
  2. Gaza Documentary Film Festival
  3. Through Women’s Eyes Film Festival – Gaza
  4. Jerusalem (Quds)  Film festival
  5. Al-Ksabah Film Festival
  6. Women’s Film Festival


  1. Damascus Film Festival
  2. Ismailiya Documentary and Short Film Festival
  3. Jordan Short Film Festival


  1. Hamid Dabashi – Historian
  2. Joseph Massad – Historian
  3. George Khleifi – Historian
  4. Hassan Abu Gneimeh – Critic/Historian
  5. Adnan Mdanat – Critic/Historian
  6. Maymanah Farhat – Critic/Reporter
  7. Sousan Hammad – Critic/Reporter
  8. Ezzedien Shallah – Critic/Programmer
  9. Kais Zubaidi – Historian/Programmer
  10. Rajab Abusryyeh – Critic/Reporter
  11. Hassan al-Odat – Historian
  12. Khadija Habashneh – Historian
  13. Hazim Bitar – Programmer
  14. Rasha Salti – Programmer
  15. Basher Ebrahem – Critic
  16. Ziad Jayyousi – Critic

Palestinian Filmmakers 2012

In Directory on December 29, 2009 at 12:09 pm

* Non-Palestinian filmmakers who produce Palestinian films
** Pioneers of Palestinian cinema
*** Mentors of Palestinian cinema

1 Firas Abdelrahman
2 Huda Abdul-Razzak
3 Maher Abi Samra
4 Dahna Abourahme
5 Darwish Abu Al Rish
6 Khadija Abu Ali
7 Mustafa Abu Ali
8 Dima Abu Ghoush
9 Tawfik Abu Wael
10 Hany Abu-Assad
11 Raeda Adon
12 Imad Ahmed
13 Muayad Alayan
14 Dalia Alkury
15 Osama Zain
16 Saed Andoni
17 Alia Arasoughly
18 Suha Arraf
19 Georgina Asfour
20 Akram Ashqar
21 Hadeel Assali
22 Hanna Atallah
23 Jibril Awad
24 Nahed Awwad
25 Mohamad Ayache
26 Thaer Azzeh
27 Liana Badr
28 Muhammad Bakri
29 Yahya Barakat
30 Benaz Batrawi
31 Asma Beseiso
32 Amahl Bishara
33 Hazim Bitar***
34 Saeed Bitar
35 Buthina Canaan
36 Cherien Dabis
37 Sohail Dahdal
38 Abourahme Dahna
39 Rawan Damen
40 Nicolas Damuni
41 Eyad Daoud
42 Mais Darwazah
43 Riyad Deis
44 Reema Eissa
45 Azza Hassan
46 Hanna Elias
47 Rowan Faqih
48 Mahdi Fleifel
49 Maryse Gargour
50 Hiba Ghasub
51 Ismail Habbash
52 Nasri Hajjaj
53 Ahmad Hamad
54 Dima Hamdan
55 Nizar Hasan
56 Mona Hatoum
57 Qasim Hawal*
58 Raed Helou
59 Rafiq Hijjar
60 Nabila Irshaid
61 Annemarie Jacir
62 Ihab Jadallah
63 Kamal Jafari
64 Jennifer Jajeh
65 Wafa Jamil
66 Haya Jareedy
67 Majed Jundieh
68 Abdallah Kawash **
69 Mohamad Kayyali **
70 Hicham Kayyed
71 Ibrahim Khill
72 Michel Khleifi
73 Ahmad Kilani **
74 Miguel Littin
75 Arab Loutfi
76 Nabiha Lutfi
77 Sandra Madi
78 Saoud Mahanna
79 Aseel Mansour
80 Rashid Masharawi
81 Mai Masri
82 Mahassan Masser-Eldin
83 Taghreed Mishael
84 Nissim Mossek
85 Bahia Munem
86 Izidore Musallam
87 Hanna Musleh
88 Enas Muthaffar
89 Najwa Najjar
90 Razi Najjar
91 Rosalind Nashashibi
92 Ali Nassar
93 Samir Nimr
94 May Odeh
95 Majdi Omari
96 Osama Qashoo
97 Omar Qattan***
99 Nassarat Rashed
100 Philip Rizk
101 Mohammed Rjuailah
102 Mazen Saade
103 Taghreed Saadeh
104 Akram Safadi
105 Sherine Salama
106 Samer Salameh
107 Suzy Salamy
108 Liana Saleh
109 Tawfik Saleh
110 Jacqueline Salloum
111 Eyas Salman
112 Larissa Sansour
113 Leila Sansour
114 Muhammad Sawalmeh
115 Nadine Shamounki
116 Ismail Shamout
117 Jehad Sharkawi
118 Abdelsalam Shehadeh
119 Nida Sinnokrot
120 Ibrahim Sirhan **
121 Elia Suleiman
122 Ula Tabari
123 Ghada Terawi
124 Sharif Waked
125 Mohanad Yaqubi
126 Nada Yassir
127 Nasri Zakharia
128 Fu’ad Zentut
129 Sameh Zoabi
130 Sobhi Zobaidi
131 Hisham Zreiq
132 Kais Zubaidi*