For the third year in a row, Tunisian actor-director Hend Sabri has bagged a position in Arab Cinema Centre’s 101 Most Influential Personalities list in the Arab film industry. Alongside the Cairo-based star, Jordanian actor-producer Saba Mubarak has also made it to the roll, released to coincide with the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
In an annual tradition, the “Golden 101” lists the names of individuals, companies, and institutions who have made the most significant waves over the past two years in Arab filmmaking, regionally and internationally. This longer-than-usual qualifying period is because of Covid-enforced interruptions in the last 18 months.
Chosen for their recent contributions to Arab-language cinema rather than their sway over the television or digital media business, this year’s entries come from 13 different Arab countries and seven non-Arab countries. While Egypt continues to dominate in numerical terms, Saudi Arabia has a noticeably bigger presence now.
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Sabri’s starring performance as the title character in the Tunisian film Noura’s Dream, which premiered in the annual Venice International Film Festival in 2019, won her the best actor award at the El Gouna Film Festival. Besides her active work in Egypt in films and TV series, including a starring role in the upcoming US $10 million Egyptian period blockbuster Kira & El Gin, Sabri has just finished filming her first Netflix TV series, an Egyptian drama-comedy called Looking For Ola that she is producing.
Meanwhile Mubarak will be seen in several prominent Arab cinema productions premiering soon. She will appear in Egyptian screenwriter Mohamed Diab’s Amira this year, a coming-of-age drama that explores the real-life phenomenon of Palestinian children conceived through vitro fertilization. Mubarak will also star in the feature debut of Jordanian director Zaid Abu Hamdan Daughters of Abdelrahman, which is being produced by her company Pan East Media.
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