Arab Cinema Center (ACC) recently released its list of the 101 Most Influential Personalities in the Arab Film Industry — AKA the Golden 101 — which celebrates the region’s best and brightest in the filmmaking industry in its annual Cannes edition of the Arab Cinema (AC) Magazine.
The ACC's list includes the most prominent artists, filmmakers, and film-related institutions that had a major impact on the industry over the past year.
This year’s Golden 101 includes 21 directors, 12 producers, 12 actors, seven crew members, 21 distributors, 12 influential figures in Arab governmental institutions, 10 platform managers, two presenters, 13 festival directors and managers, and seven fund managers from 24 countries — 15 Arab and nine non-Arab.
Egypt and Lebanon lead the way with 23 names each, followed by Saudi Arabia (17), Jordan (11), Tunisia (9), Syria (5), the UAE (4), Sudan (3), Kuwait (3), Morocco (2), Iraq (2), and Qatar and Yemen with one name respectively.
As for the non-Arab entries, they’re led by the US, which has four names, followed by the UK (3), France (2), Italy (2), and Canada, India, Monaco, and South Africa, each of which has one name.
The list includes mega-stars from Egypt such as Yousra, Tamer Hosni, Ahmed Malek, Hussein Fahmy, Marwan Hamed, Ahmed Mourad, Ahmad Al-Morsy, Ahmed Hafez, Heba Othman, Amir Ramses, Mohamed Hefzy and Sally El-Husseini, music composer Hisham Nazih, producers Marianne Khoury and Shahinaz El-Akkad, and distributors Gaby Khoury and Ramzi Khoury.
It also has Ashraf Salman, Executive Director of United Media Services; Ahmed Sharkawy, Director of Arabic Series at Netflix; and Nashwa Gad Al-Haq, General Manager of Watch IT.
From Lebanon, the list includes star Razane Jammal; filmmakers Wissam Sharaf, Noel, and Michelle Kesrouani; sound designer Rana Eid; TV presenter Raya Abirached; Founder and CEO of ABBOUT PRODUCTIONS George Choucair; Founder and Director of Cocoon Films Sawsan Asfari, and CEO of OSN Joe Kawkabani.
Moreover, it features Vice President of Starzplay Arabia Tony Saab, Founder and Director of Metropolis Art Cinema Hania Mroué, Director of Beirut Cinema Platform Jad Abi Khalil, Founder and Director of the Tripoli Film Festival Elias Khlat, Director of the Red Sea International Film Festival’s Arab Program Antoine Khalife, Executive Director at the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture Rima Mismar, CEO of Empire International Mario Haddad Sr., President of Empire International Mario Haddad Jr., CEO of Gulf Film Selim El-Azar, Founder and CEO of Front Row Gianluca Chakra, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim for Entertainment Ignace Lahoud, Managing Director of VOX Cinemas Toni Al-Masih, President and Founder of Prime Cinemas/Empire Cinema and Cinema City Hammad Atassi, and Chairperson of the Selim Ramia Company Selim Ramia.
The list also includes notable individuals from Saudi Arabia, such as film director Abdulelah Alqurashi, actress Fatima Al-Banawi, General Manager of MBC Studios Zeinab Abu Alsamh, Chairperson of Telfaz 11 Alaa Yousef Fadan, Owner and Chairperson of MBC Group Waleed bin Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, Managing Director of ART Hadeel Kamel, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, producer and CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival Mohammed Al-Turki, Director of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture Abdullah Al-Rashid, Chairperson of the General Entertainment Authority's Board of Directors Turki Al-Sheikh, CEO of the Saudi Film Commission Abdullah Al-Qahtani, Saudi producer and CEO of Muvi Studios Faisal Baltyuor, Founder and CEO of Muvi Cinema Sultan Al-Hokair, CEO of Rowad Media Mamdouh Salem, and Chairperson of Saudi Entertainment Ventures Abdullah Al-Dawood.
It features seven influential non-Arabs in the region as well — Executive Director of MBC Group Sam Barnett; Head of Commercial and Marketing at Shahid Natasha Matos Hemingway; Executive Director of Al-Ula Film Charlene Dillion; Managing Director for Media, Entertainment, Culture, and Fashion Industries at NEOM Wayne Borg; CEO of Muvi Cinemas Adon Quinn; Chairperson of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission Hans Fryken; and Executive Director of Image Nation Abu Dhabi Mark Whitehead.
As for the listed Emiratis, they include CEO and Co-Founder of STARZPLAY ARABIA Maaz Sheikh, screenwriter and Founder of Cinema Akil Butheina Kazim, Majed Al-Suwaidi — Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City — and Chairperson of Image Nation Mohamed Al-Mubarak.
The list also includes the Kuwaiti director Abdullah Al-Arak, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of OSN Sheikha Dana Nasser Al-Sabah, and Executive Director of Front Row Hisham Al-Ghanim.
Furthermore, it includes Jordanian filmmakers Amjad Al-Rasheed, Bassel Ghandour, Darin J. Sallam, superstar Saba Mubarak, music composer Suad Bushnaq, producer Rula Nasser, and Director of the Amman International Film Festival Nada Doumani.
Finally, it features Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Royal Film Commission Prince Ali Bin Hussein, Executive Commissioner of the Royal Film Commission Princess Rym Ali, Director of the Royal Film Commission Mohannad Bakri, and Founder and Executive Director of the Arab Media Network Tariq Abu Lughod.
The Arab Cinema Center
Founded by MAD Solutions in 2015, the ACC is a non-profit organization, which promotes Arab cinema and provides a professional window to connect film professionals with their counterparts from all over the world through a number of events that it organizes.
The ACC provides networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution, among others. Its activities also vary between film markets, stands, pavilions, networking sessions, one-on-one meetings bringing together Arab and foreign filmmakers, welcome parties, meetings with international organizations and festivals, and the issuance of the Arab Cinema Magazine to be distributed at leading international film festivals and markets.
Furthermore, a newsletter subscription is now available on the ACC's website, allowing users to obtain digital copies of the magazine, news on the ACC's activities, notifications of application dates for grants, festivals, and offers from educational and training institutions, updates on Arab films screening at festivals, and exclusive news on the ACC's partners and their future projects.
The ACC also launched an English-language Arab Cinema Guide on its website, which is a comprehensive cinematic guide that provides a variety of tools presented collectively for the first time to offer information on Arab cinema to filmmakers inside and outside the Arab world. It also aims to facilitate filmmakers' access to international markets and help film industry representatives easily identify Arab film productions.