IoC Speakers, 2015

These are the speakers appearing at Impact of Conflict, 2015.

Annemarie Jacir is an independent filmmaker and screenwriter living in Jordan. Named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema, two of her films have premiered as Official Selections at the Cannes Film Festival, one as an Academy Award qualifier, and one in Venice. Jacir began working in the theatre, first in set design and then writing and directing plays. She first worked in the film industry in Los Angeles and then as an editor and camerawoman before attending Columbia University in New York to obtain a MFA degree in Film. She has taught at Columbia University, Bethlehem University, and Birzeit University and in refugee camps in Palestine, Lebanon and currently in Jordan. She has served as a jury member to the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, the Alexandria Film Festival, the Damascus International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival and Dubai International Film Festival. She is a founding member of the Palestinian Filmmakers’ Collective.

Leila Sansour is the founder and CEO of Open Bethlehem. She was born in Moscow to a Palestinian father and a Russian mother, and grew up in the occupied West Bank. Leila is best known in the UK for her feature-length documentary, Jeremy Hardy versus the Israeli Army -73 minutes, which was filmed in Bethlehem during the 2002 siege and received four and five-star reviews, before its national release across cinemas in the UK, and its tour in the US as part of Amnesty International’s Roaming Film Festival. She made the decision to return to her home city of Bethlehem in 2004 following Israel’s construction of the wall, to found the organisation Open Bethlehem- an international campaign to save the city and keep it open for the world; which operates with a sense of duty to the wider region, seeing itself as a voice and a showcase for challenges that face Palestine. As a result Leila’s latest film, a feature documentary Open Bethlehem is a personal story shot over 5 momentous years in the life of Bethlehem revealing her own journey back home as well as an intimate portrait of her city under occupation. The film received the Enjaaz award and premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival.

Selma Dabbagh

Selma Dabbagh is a London based British Palestinian writer of novels, short stories and plays. Her first novel, Out of It, (Bloomsbury, 2011) is set between Gaza, London and the Gulf and has been voted Guardian Book of the Year. Selma also works as a lawyer.

Suha Arraf

Suha Arraf was born in the Palestinian village of Melyia, near Lebanon. She began her filmmaking career as documentary producer. Her latest one; Wowmen Of Hamas (2010) received 13 awards at international film festivals. Suha’s first two screenplays, The Syrian Bride (2004) and The Lemon Tree (2008), both directed by Eran Riklis, received international acclaim, with the latter winning Best Screenplay at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. In 2014 Suha was listed in Variety Magazine’s “Top 10 Screenwriters to Watch” and was writer-director of Villa Touma.

Join Suha Arraf in a live twitter chat on 12th March at 2pm use #convocinema.


Academic, writer and film maker Monica  Maurer studied Sociology and Communication Sciences at university in Munich and Berlin before working as a journalist for several newspapers in Germany and the radical US magazine  “Ramparts”. Late she wrote features for television and became an assistant director  to  the avant-guarde director Carmelo Bene. Due to growing anti-arab tensions in 1974 she left film-making in favour of political activism, setting up  a  multinational  bookshop for immigrant workers in Cologne (Germany). From 1977 on she worked as a director and writer with Palestinian Cinema Institution (PLO Unified Information) and the Information Department of the PRCS (Palestine Red Crescent Society) in Beirut, producing a number of films on the issue of Palestine including Palestine Red Crescent, Children of PalestineThe Fifth WarBorn out of Death and Palestine in Flames. From 1994/96 she lectured International School of Film and TV in Cuba an now lives in Rome where she continues to teach and work as a film consultant.

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