The Oscars committee has just integrated 8 film personalities from the Arab world. In doing so, it sends a clear message of openness to the region’s 7th art.
“It is an honor for any filmmaker in the world to be selected to be part of the Oscar committee,” explains Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy. A feeling probably shared by the 7 other actors, directors and producers who have been invited to join the Hollywood Academy of Film Arts and Sciences.
Egypt and Lebanon in the spotlight
In the list of those who accepted the Academy’s invitation are four Egyptians: actress Yusra, producers Mohamed Hefzy and Karim Amer, and director Amr Salama. It is complemented by the Lebanese filmmaker Christopher Aoun and the set designer Hussein Baydoun, both Lebanese, and collaborators in the “Capharnaum” project, nominated for an Oscar in 2018.
Invitations were also extended to Syrian director Talal Derki, nominated for an Oscar for best documentary for “Of Fathers and Sons“, and to Yemeni director Khadija Al-Salami, acclaimed in 2014 for her film “I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced” (I am Nojoom, 10 years, divorced).
These invitations are the result of a desire on the part of the Academy to become more diversified, more inclusive, and more global.