Meet the Fellows

Introducing the 2018 class of Global Media Makers Fellows

View previous Global Media Makers classes:
2016 | 2017

In 2018 – the third year of Global Media Makers – 14 film, television and new media makers were selected as participants from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These Global Media Makers Fellows traveled to Los Angeles for a six-week residency which included filmmaker education, business training and professional networking opportunities.

Additionally, Fellows participated in intensive filmmaking labs focused on screenwriting, documentary, directing and creative producing in which, with a team of American mentors, they advanced projects they currently have in development. Mentorship continues remotely through 2019.

Global Media Makers is supported through a partnership between Film Independent and The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

Nawaf Al Janahi

United Arab Emirates

Project Title: The Frame
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: In the UAE, a half-Emirati photographer struggles with family attachments and social standards while trying to establish his own path and find true love.

Nawaf Al Janahi (writer/director) was born in Abu Dhabi to an Egyptian mother and an Emirati father. He started acting when he was seven years old and moved to California to study the art of cinema at age 19. His first feature film The Circle (2009) was described by film critics as “a major turning point in Emirati and Gulf cinema.” Al Janahi’s second feature film Sea Shadow (2011) was released in cinemas across the Arabian Gulf where it placed second in the top 5 movies in the UAE during its first week. The film screened in 27 countries around the world.
 
 
 

Jad Dani Ali Hassan

Lebanon

Project Title: Empty Quarter
Project Type: Fiction Series
Logline: Set in the year 2052, this series follows Yusuf on a journey across the hostile Empty Quarter desert as he attempts to rescue his kidnapped brother from a pirate rebel group.

Jad Dani Ali Hassan (writer/director) was born in Saint Julien, France and has been based in Lebanon since 1992. Holding a masters degree in Film Directing from Saint Joseph University in Beirut, he is a screenwriter, director, editor and actor in fiction, documentaries, web series and TV series; namely his three year collaboration on the popular Lebanese political satire Chi.N.N. His work includes short films such as Beirut Syndrome(2010), Tashbih (2011) and Moneta (2014), which was an official selection of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and winner of Best Short Fiction at the NDU International Film Festival.
 
 

Jassim Alsaady

Saudi Arabia

Project Title: Dibajah – A Saudi Prologue
Project Type: Documentary
Logline: When Saudi Arabia ends restrictions on cinema, a young man is pressured by his father to stay the conventional path instead of pursuing his dream to become an actor.

Jassim Alsaady (director) is a Saudi filmmaker with over 15 years of experience in commercials, corporate videos, documentaries and feature films. Prior work includes collaboration with the Oprah Winfrey Network in Saudi Arabia, two IMAX documentaries, Morgan Spurlock’s Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? and Tom Tykwer’s latest feature A Hologram for the King. Alsaady has directed over 20 TV commercials during the last eight years and he is currently shifting focus to making his own films. He is confident that the local talent pool, as well as the entire country of Saudi Arabia, are finally ready for cinema.
 
 

Jaylan Auf

Egypt

Project Title: The Inevitable Journey to Find A Wedding Dress
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: On the eve of her marriage, a woman discovers that her wedding dress is destroyed. Her search for a replacement becomes an exploration of Cairo and a confrontation of the polarized city.

Jaylan Auf (writer/director) completed her German Abitur and graduated from The American University in Cairo. She was awarded a scholarship to USC to complete a Screenwriting and Production diploma. Her debut short film My Festival premiered at the El Gouna Film Festival and screened at several international film festivals. She was nominated for the Robert Bosch Stiftung Prize in 2015 and her second short film Turning 10 is currently in production. Jaylan has worked on several films and documentaries including The Trials of Spring, We are the Giant (HBO) and the TV series Nida, which portrays women’s stories in the Middle East.
 

Zeina Badran

Lebanon

Project Title: I Am Arzé
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: A single mother takes her teenage son on a journey across sectarian Beirut in search of a stolen scooter, their only source of livelihood.

Zeina Badran (producer) graduated with a BA in Communication Arts, TV & Film from the Lebanese American University. After graduating, she founded her company Spotless Mind Films along with Beirut-based cinematographer Mohamad Hissi. She directed Blood Brothers (2015) and produced several short films including Exitbag (2016), Lilacs (2016) and Sahar (2017). In addition, she produced montages for the pan-Arab web series “Film Arabi” produced by Mohamed Hefzy of Film Clinic and Film Independent. Zeina has also produced several music videos, including Khansa’s “Khayef” and “Qisat Al-Ams,” and “Other Lovers” for the band Safar.
 

Derya Durmaz

Turkey

Project Title: The Bus to Amerika
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: An adventurous Yazidi boy living in a refugee camp in Turkey daydreams of escaping to America to become a pop star.

Derya Durmaz‘s (writer/director) first short film Ziazan participated in over 40 festivals and won eleven awards. Her second short Mother Virgin No More premiered at the Berlinale Generation 14plus Competition. She was the first director from Turkey to be selected for the TIFF Talent Lab (2015). In 2016 she was selected for Berlinale Talents. With her current project The Bus To America, she participated in First Films First, Goethe-Institut Young Directors Academy South-Eastern Europe, received a grant from German Turkish Co-Production Development Fund and won the Talent Highlight Award of Berlinale Co-Production Market (2017). Durmaz holds an LLM in Human Rights Law.
 

Amine Hattou

Algeria

Project Title: Janitou
Project Type: Documentary Feature
Logline: The emotional identity of a generation traumatized by the 1990s Algerian Civil War is explored through the country’s unlikely fascination with an unknown Bollywood film.

Amine Hattou (director) is an Algerian independent filmmaker who graduated from the Journalism Institute of Algiers in 2000. He was selected for La Fémis Summer University documentary film program in Paris (2009) where he wrote and directed his first short documentary. He went on to direct short fiction film Down to Earth (2011) which screened at more than 20 film festivals worldwide.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Yanis Koussim

Algeria

Project Title: Roqya
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: After Islamic terrorists possessed by demons slaughter an Algerian village’s residents during the Civil War, a survivor who witnessed the massacre decides to become a Raqi, a Muslim exorcist.

Yanis Koussim (writer/director) was studying for a law degree when he decided to shift gears and become a filmmaker. Since then, he has written and directed several short films and documentaries which won awards and screened at film festivals such as Locarno, Clermont-Ferrand, Carthage and Abu Dhabi. He has also written screenplays for directors Lotfi Bouchouchi and Rayhana Obermeyer. Television credits include writing for TV series Nass M’lah City 3 and directing 3ammi Achour. His first feature film Algiers By Night is currently in post-production.
 
 
 

Rim Mejdi

Morocco

Project Title: Plum Season
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: A 16-year-old Moroccan girl disguises herself as a boy and joins a gang of bikers in the Grand Atlas Mountains where she encounters supernatural forces that precipitate her transformation.

Rim Mejdi (writer/director) received her B.A. and M.A. in directing at ESAV Marrakech (School of Visual Arts). During that time, she directed three short fiction films and two short documentaries. Her film Out of Town was screened at several film festivals including Locarno, Carthage Film Festival, Cairo International Festival, Cinémed Montpellier and London African Film Festival. She currently works as a contemporary art curator within the Madrassa Collective. Her feature film Plum Season is in development and feature documentary Waiting for the End of the World is in post-production.
 
 

Darin J. Sallam

Jordan

Project Title: Farha
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: As 12-year-old Farha is confronted by a life changing experience, she is forced to abandon her dreams and cling to survival as a new state is created over her Palestinian village.

Darin J. Sallam (writer/director) holds an MFA in Cinematic Arts from the Red Sea Institute for Cinematic Arts (RSICA). She directed five award-winning short films including Still Alive (2010) and The Dark Outside (2012), which received multiple awards and screened at internationally acclaimed film festivals worldwide. Her latest short fiction film The Parrot (2016), received The Film Prize from Robert Bosch Stiftung (2015) and received two jury awards from the Twin Cities and Malmo Arab Film Festivals (2017). Additionally, Sallam has been a jury member on several international film festivals and is a co-founder and managing partner at TaleBox, Jordan.
 

Mira Shaib

Lebanon

Project Title: I Am Arzé
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: A single mother takes her teenage son on a journey across sectarian Beirut in search of a stolen scooter, their only source of livelihood.

Mira Shaib (director) was born and raised in Beirut and received her B.A. in Communication Arts, TV & Film from the Lebanese American University. She received a scholarship and grant from Robert Bosch Stiftung where she developed her short Lilacs and secured a German production company. Mad Solution and MBC bought the distribution rights and she received a subsequent invitation from Robert Bosch to develop I Am Arzé. Television credits include MBC Group’s The Voice Arabia and Arab Idol. She is currently working at Beirut.com (the Lebanese version of Buzzfeed) where she is directing videos about life in Beirut.
 

Wissam Tanios

Lebanon

Project Title: We Are From There
Project Type: Documentary Feature
Logline: Two middle-class Syrian Christian brothers escape their war-torn country by illegally crossing the Aegean Sea to stake out a better future in Europe.

Wissam Tanios (director) studied cinema at Saint Joseph University, IESAV in Beirut. His short documentary Aftermath (2012) won Best Documentary at the Lebanese Film Festival. His second short film Departures screened in competition at various film festivals including Rome, Marseilles, Turkey, Dubai, Iran, Sydney and Beirut. The film won Best Narrative Short at the 2nd Annual Alwan Awards, New York. Tanios currently works as a director of TV and corporate films and does Arabic voice over for commercials. We Are From There is his first feature film.
 
 
 

Jana Wehbe

Lebanon

Project Title: The Maiden’s Pond
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: In a small Lebanese town, a mother struggles to lend support to her estranged and newly-divorced daughter, as both women come to terms with their unresolved wounds.

Jana Wehbe (producer) studied filmmaking at IESAV, Beirut and modern lyric singing at the Lebanese National High Music Conservatory. She has line produced Tannoura Maxi, The Lebanese Rocket Society, Taste of Cement, Tombe du Ciel and many other films. Along with like-minded artists, she co-founded The Attic, a boutique production house in 2009. She went on to produce 2 1⁄2, This Little Father Obsession, Revoltango and Beirut Terminus. In 2011, she joined the Doha Film Institute and works for the annual festival. She is also the Arab Film Institute’s representative in Lebanon. Wehbe is currently producing several film projects including Hyphen and The Maiden’s Pond.

Bassem Breche

Lebanon

Project Title: The Maiden’s Pond
Project Type: Fiction Feature
Logline: In a small Lebanese town, a mother struggles to lend support to her estranged and newly-divorced daughter, as both women come to terms with their unresolved wounds.

Bassem Breche (writer/director) is an Emmy-Award winning screenwriter and director. He started his career as an actor in Lebanon and the UK, appearing in Blind Flight (2003) and Hamburg Cell (2004). He directed three short films: Both (2007), Ziu (2013) and Free Range (2014) which premiered at Cannes Critics’ week, screened at various film festivals and garnered awards. Breche has written several web series and films including Shankaboot (2009-2011), International Digital Emmy Award (2011), Fasten (2012), The Little Drop (2015), Undocumented (2017) and Aleph (2018). He is the founder/director of Scenario Beirut, a collective of screenwriters based in Beirut.