In recognition of his distinguished work in revitalizing and sustaining Jordanian and Arab cinema, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is bestowing its 5th Arab Cinema Personality of the Year Award to Mohannad Al-Bakri, the Managing Director of the Jordanian Royal Film Commission (RFC) during the 74th Berlin International Film Festival, which will run from February 15th to the 25th.
The award, which coincides with the ACC’s celebration of its own 10th anniversary, is designed to honor and highlight prominent industry figures whose persistent contributions have helped elevate the Arab film industry in the eyes of the international filmmaking community as a whole.
Al-Bakri has been instrumental in rousing the country’s film industry from its slumber since assuming his position in 2009 through his development of the commission’s funding and training programs, as well as building local production capacity with the opening of Jordan’s first dedicated film studio complex. Under his guidance, Jordan has become a competitive and enticing destination for filmmakers through a combination of extraordinary landscapes, universally praised production services and its cost-effectiveness as a shooting location.
After starting out at the RFC in 2007 as a capacity-building manager, Al-Bakri quickly rose to the title of managing director by 2009. Before that, he kickstarted his professional career at the Hashemite Fund for Human Development where he developed dynamic programs promoting the active role of youths in society.
In addition to his work for the RFC, he was also appointed as Regional Managing Director of Luminus Media – Jordan (SAE Institute) from 2012 until 2015 before joining New York University in Abu Dhabi as Director of External Relations and Partnerships from 2015 until 2019.
"We take immense pride in honoring Mohannad Al-Bakri, the Managing Director of the Jordanian Royal Film Commission (RFC) with the Arab Cinema Personality of the Year Award. Since assuming his position, he has made enormous and noteworthy efforts to advance the Jordanian film industry," said Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab — Co-founders of Arab Cinema Center — in a joint statement.
"This is evidenced by the outstanding success Jordanian films have achieved so far both locally and internationally, including INSHALLAH A BOY, which world premiered at Cannes’ 62nd Critics Week, winning two unprecedented awards in the history of Jordanian cinema," they added.
Last year, the Arab Cinema Center gave its Arab Cinema Personality of the Year Award to Mouhamad Keblawi — the Founder and Head of Malmö Arab Film Festival in Sweden. Other recipients of the Award include Chiraz Latiri, former general director of the Centre National du Cinema et de l'Image, and renowned producer and screenwriter Mohamed Hefzy — the Founder of Film Clinic. The inaugural award went to both Abdulhamid Juma and Masoud Amralla Al Ali, chairman and artistic director, respectively, of the now-shuttered Dubai International Film Festival.
Established by MAD Solutions, the ACC is a nonprofit organization registered in Berlin. The ACC provides networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions involved in co-production, international sales and distribution, film festival, commercial exhibition and industry events.
The organization’s activities include hosting film market stands, networking sessions, one-on-one meetings, welcome parties, panel discussions and meetings with international organizations and festivals. It also publishes the Arab Cinema Magazine, which it distributes at leading international film festivals and markets.
A newsletter subscription is now available on the ACC's website, allowing users to obtain digital copies of the Arab Cinema Magazine, as well as news on the ACC's activities, notifications of application dates for grants, festivals and offers from educational and training institutions, updates on Arab films participating at festivals, exclusive news on the Arab Cinema LAB, and highlights from the ACC's partners and their future projects.
Additionally, the ACC launched the Arab Cinema Directory in English on its website, the first time that users from both within and outside the Arab-speaking world have easy access to information on Arab cinema all in one place. As always, the aim is to facilitate the connection between Arab films and filmmakers and their potential partners, allowing the international filmmaking community to more easily identify Arab productions and the producing and storytelling talents behind them.