Screen International has announced five of the most talented and promising actors and directors from across the Middle East and North Africa who have been selected for the third edition of its talent-spotting initiative ‘Arab Stars Of Tomorrow’ which this year was launched at the 41st edition of the Cairo International Film Festival and supported by Front Row and Kuwait National Cinema Company (KNCC).
The announcement was made during a panel discussion at the Festival’s successful industry arm ‘Cairo Industry Days’ which brings together filmmakers from inside and outside the Arab world to promote, develop, and celebrate storytelling from around the world.
The ‘Arab Stars of Tomorrow’ have been curated and selected by Screen International’s Middle East correspondent Melanie Goodfellow, with input from Editor Matt and Finn Halligan, Chief Critic and Reviews editor.
For ‘Arab Stars of Tomorrow’, Screen International shortlisted five actors and directors who have already made a significant impact in their field with promise of much more to come.
The first finalist of the impressive selection is Egyptian filmmaker and writer Kawthar Younis, the daughter of a cinema professor who learned her craft on set working with acclaimed directors including Yousry Nasrallah and Amr Afara. Kawthar Younis first came to the film industry’s attention with her commercially successful graduation documentary ‘A Present from the Past’ which was a breakout hit with audiences.
She is currently finishing two shorts and developing a first fiction feature as well as getting involved in working as a producer.
The brilliantly gifted Moroccan actress Nisrin Erradi was most recently seen in this year’s feature ‘Adam’ from director Maryam Touzani which screened in the Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.
Her standout performance wowed critics and audiences alike and she can next be seen in Mohamed Nadif’s drama ‘Women in Block J’ and Abdeslam Kelai’s Poissons Rouges releasing in 2020.
Highly talented up-and-coming actor Farès Landoulsi from Tunisia will soon hit screens in the anticipated Netflix suspenseful drama ‘Messiah’ from writer Michael Petroni and producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Farès studied at the prestigious Classe Libre Cours Florent in Paris, his credits include remarkable performances in the short films ‘Omertà” and ‘Face à la Mer’ both presented at the Cannes Film Festival.
Hailing from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, the hugely creative filmmaker Raed Alsemari is currently completing his MFA in Filmmaking in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He began his career in the industry working as a casting associate in 2014 on Jon Stewart’s ‘Rosewater’ which was shot in Jordan.
Raed most recently enjoyed critical acclaim when he picked up the prestigious Jury Award for International Fiction at the Sundance Film Festival for his short film ‘Dunya’s Day’ which he wrote and directed.
Completing the handpicked slate of talent is the exceptional Palestinian filmmaker Wisam Al Jafari, the winner of the third prize of the Cinéfondation Selection at the Cannes Film Festival for his film ‘Ambience’. The compelling and powerful documentary tells us about his life in a refugee camp and has received praise from around the world. He is currently writing a new feature film and is in the process of filming a documentary.
Screen International Editor Matt Mueller commented: “We are delighted to partner with Cairo International Film Festival on our Arab Stars of Tomorrow initiative. This is an exciting and hugely talented group of filmmakers and actors from across the region and we are thrilled to be showcasing them to the international industry at this year’s festival. This is Screen’s third Arab Stars of Tomorrow showcase, and we believe it is vitally important to offer exceptional talent from all parts of the world a platform for greater international exposure. Congratulations to this year’s Arab Stars, we look forward to keeping up with all of their future endeavours.”
CIFF’s President Mohamed Hefzy commented: “We are thrilled to partner with Screen, Kuwait National Cinema Company and Front Row Filmed Entertainment to bring this important initiative to Cairo to showcase exceptional filmmakers and actors to the international industry and help elevate their careers on a global platform. I congratulate this hugely talented group of Arab Stars and look forward to following their careers both in front of and behind the camera for years to come.”
Front Row’s Gianluca Chakra and KNCC’s Hisham Alghanim added: “In view of our current and future development and production plans, we are proud to support this much needed initiative. Discovering new talent is key in the region which is cast driven and dependant on only 3 or 4 names. Not only through the Cairo International Film Festival, but the MENA media as a whole, new talent whether it be it on the screen or behind should be encouraged and supported.”