The 2019 Film Prize Experts

Mentors, consultants and trainers from the international film industry support the Film Prize Nominees during the workshops to further develop their project, to strengthen the idea of co-producing and to train and rehearse their pitch to the jury. 

Ahmed Sobky

started his career in film PR and marketing, later venturing into film distribution in Egypt and the Arab region. He is currently the Head of Acquisitions, Sales and Theatrical Releases in Zawya Distribution, a new venture for art-house and independent film distribution in Egypt and the Arab world. His latest projects included CACTUS FLOWER, IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY, MOTHER OF THE UNBORN and EXPERIMENTAL SUMMER. Ahmed supports the Nominees with his expertise on distribution of arthouse cinema. 

Alaa Karkoutti

is a renowned film analyst and an influential professional within the cinema and entertainment industry in the Arab world. His extended expertise in cinema analysis has landed him as a guest speaker in various panels, filmmaking workshops, seminars, and juries in film festivals worldwide. For his long-standing efforts in supporting the Arab film industry, Karkouti was selected by Variety on its list of 'Ten Names You Need to Know in the Arab Film Industry'. After taking the lead in assembling complete archives on the economics of filmmaking in the region, Karkouti co-founded MAD Solutions, the first pan-Arab studio dedicated to the production, promotion and distribution of Arabic content to the Arab world and beyond. In 2015, Karkouti launched the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) through MAD Solutions as an international promotional platform to further support the Arab film industry and boost interest in Arab cinema and culture. Alaa supports the Nominees with his expertise on distribution.

Ayman El Amir

is a script editor and consultant who works for many programs, institutes and companies including TorinoFilmLab, Doha Film Institute, Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, DOX BOX Association and Misr International Films. Ayman consults privately on films and leads several international script development workshops and masterclasses. He has an MFA degree in filmmaking with a double major in both film production and screenwriting from the Red Sea Institute for Cinematic Arts. In 2013, he collaborated with USC (University of South California) School of Cinematic Arts to establish the first film production program of its kind in Saudi Arabia’s Effat University. Ayman established his production Company (Felucca Films) in Egypt in 2016, which focuses on fresh and new talents and contemporary social issues. During the same year, he implemented the Mahd Film Lab, a Cairo-based script development program open to filmmakers working on Arab film projects and Arab-European co-production. As a filmmaker, he wrote, directed and produced fiction and documentary films that have screened in numerous international film festivals. He wrote, produced and co-directed the feature documentary HAPPILY EVER AFTER (with Nada Riyadh), which premiered at IDFA (International Documentary Film of Amsterdam) 2016. He produces the 2017 Film Prize Winner THE TRAP (director: by Nada Riyadh). 

Irit Neidhardt

graduated in political science, Islamic science and anthropology from the university of Muenster/Germany. She worked as trainer for self-defense and assertiveness for girls and women, managed an adult education center for political and cultural learning and has been acting as avocational author, curator and speaker in the field of cinema and the Middle East since completing her studies in 1995. In 2002 she decided to devote her working life to cinema and funded the distribution and sales company mec film complementary to her free-lancing. Irit Neidhardt is associate producer of Mahmoud al Massad’s award winning feature-documentary RECYCLE (Jordan/NL/CH/GER/USA 2007) and co-producer of Simon el-Habre’s highly acclaimed THE ONE MANY VILLAGE (Lebanon 2008), his latest GATE #5 (Lebanon/UAE 2011), Kamal Aljafari’s critically acclaimed PORT OF MEMORY(Palestine/GER 2009), Damien Ounouri’s prizewinning FIDAI (Algeria/FR/China/Kuwait/ GER 2012) and Raed Rafei's ECCOMI … ECCOTI (Lebanon 2017). She worked as development consultant for Tamer El-Said’s IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY (EG/VAE/UK/D 2016) and as dramaturgic consultant for Pary el-Qalqili’s THE TURTLE’S RAGE (GER/Palestine 2012). She is author of various articles on subjects related to cinema and the Arab World, focusing on issues of co-operation and financing. From 2014 till 2016 Irit was Honorary Fellow at the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter (UK) with a research on PLO-German cooperation in film-making. Irit is member of the board of the German edition of the Global Media Journal and German quarterly inamo. She is member of the German Documentary Association (AG DOK), German Association of Art House Theatres (AG Kino-Gilde) and The German Middle East Studies Association for Contemporary Research and Documentation (DAVO). Irit supports the Nominees with her expertise on Arab cinema, on international co-producing and on distribution. 

Matthias Messmer

is a professional director with a degree in directing from the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst „Ernst Busch“ Berlin. With his creative team get messmerized* he is doing designs for small up to very big conferences and develops custom shows for corporate events including various companies and organizations. As a director and coach Matthias Messmer also works with professional speakers on their individual needs to achieve an authentic performance. As Associate Artistic Director of BLUE MAN GROUP he was responsible for casting and training the Blue Men and bringing the show to Germany.
He developed and directed all the outside gigs, TV appearances and video productions of BLUE MAN GROUP in Germany and Austria. He also directed drama and musical shows for many theaters all over Germany.
At the Children’s Theatre Festival Istanbul he trained actors and directors in workshops and he worked as an acting teacher at the Universität der Künste Berlin.
As Artistic Director he was leading the Joop van den Ende Academy in Hamburg, the Musical Shool of Stage Entertainment. Matthias supports the Nominees with his expertise how to perform the pitch. 

Myriam Sassine

majored in cinema studies at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts and received a M.A. in cinema research. Inn 2012, she became a Producer at Abbout Productions working on several features such as TRAMONTANE by Vatche Boulghourjian (Cannes Critic’s Week 2016), PANOPTIC by Rana Eid (Locarno 2017), AMAL by Mohamed Siam (Idfa 2017 and winner of the 2015 Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung) and A CERTAIN NASSER by Badih Massaad and Antoine Waked (Festival Lumière 2017). Myriam is the COO of Schortcut Films, dedicated to coproducing international features and the Executive Director of Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival, the first fantastic film festival in the Middle East.

Pauline Carbo

is a filmmaker, specialized in documentary movies. She is also a coach for personal and professional development, as hypnotherapist as well. Pauline Carbo helps « The story maker » in the making of their own « personnel legend » and the way they could influence and impact the world. Having worked on different documentary including in Asia and the Middle East, she works with the Palestinian Director Jamal Khalaily on a trilogy documentary, which is supported by the Doha Film Institute, the subject of the project evolves around the perception of oneself and its influence on the story told in the conflicts area.  She also collaborates with the Bejaia Film Laboratory (BFL) in Algeria, and with JCC (Journées Cinematographiques de Carthage) in Tunisia, which aim to support the new young talents coming from the Maghreb and enhance the movies production by building a network of directors and producers. Pauline supports the Nominees with her expertise on how to pitch. 

Raed Andoni

Is a Palestinian filmmaker and producer based in Paris. Raed has been working in independent cinema since 1997. He co-founded Dar Films, a production company based in Ramallah, producing and securing a wide international distribution for a number of award-winning documentaries. In 2008, he co-founded Les Films de Zayna, a Paris-based production company. His first feature documentary as a director, IMPROVISATION (2006) has screened in various international festivals and received the 2006 Art and Culture Award at the International Mediterranean Documentary Competition run by CMCA. FIX ME (2010), has premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won several awards in international and Arab film festivals. It was commercially released in France in November 2010. GHOST HUNTING (2017) has premiered at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival, winning the Best Documentary Award and an audience award. Raed supports the Nominees as a mentor for project development and as a pitching trainer.

Selina Ukwuoma

is a freelance script consultant who has advised on a number of projects that have gone on to win multiple awards from 2008 BAFTA winner BOY A to 2014 Teddy winner THE WAY HE LOOKS to this year’s Goyas triumph SUMMER 1993. As well as consulting for production companies and designing and running development initiatives with various organisations, Selina teaches screenwriting at the UK’s National Film and Television School and leads workshops on pitching at various film festivals worldwide. Prior to her career in film development, Selina travelled, taught English, and completed degrees in screenwriting, professional writing, and social anthropology. She has various interests, but is always keen to learn something new.

Stefan Gieren

holds a Dipl. Ing. degree for Media Systems and an M.A. for Film Production. Before his film studies he established a network of educational TV broadcasters in Afghanistan funded by the German government. His films have seen world premieres on A-List-Festivals like Berlinale, Locarno and Karlovy Vary and have received two Student Academy Awards and over 80 international awards. His graduation film RAJU earned him an Oscar nomination in 2012. He was nominated for the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung multiple times and won the award in 2016 with the German-Lebanese shortfilm TSHWEESH by Feyrouz Serhal which went on to be screened in Locarno, Busan, Clermont-Ferrand and others. Another of his German-Arab coproductions – AYNY by Ahmad Saleh – failed to win the Film Prize but went on to receive a Student Academy Award in Gold for the best foreign animation in 2016. Stefan supports the Nominees with his expertise on international co-producing.

Thanassis Karathanos

studied political science and economics in Athens and Berlin. In 1998 he founded the film production company Twenty Twenty Vision in Berlin and in 2003 the production company Pallas Film in Halle (Saale). He is producing numerous international films which are celebrating festival and cinema successes worldwide. He is a member of the European and German Film Academy. Thanassis supports the Nominees with his expertise on international co-producing.