Morad Mostafa
He is an alumnus of the Berlinale Talents Campus in Durban and Locarno Academy who wrote and directed three shorts, all of which were selected in Clermont-Ferrand for three consecutive years and screened in 300+ festivals worldwide.

His latest short, I PROMISE YOU PARADISE, was selected for the Critics’ Week of the 76th Cannes Film Festival and won the Rail d'Or Award and Valbonne Audience Award. It then hit over 100 festivals around the globe, winning 40 awards to date. Morad is developing his debut feature film, AISHA CAN’T FLY AWAY ANYMORE, in Cannes’ Cinéfondation. He was also selected for the 2024 edition of Berlinale Talents.

What's the best advice you have ever been given - or given to others?
Don't shoot the script. The real film is created by being in real locations with real people. I mostly improvise during rehearsal with actors, then I go home and rewrite and rehearse again with them. I love this method because it helps me discover details and emotions.

What has been your biggest setback/hurdle?
Trying to enter the film industry without being a film academy graduate or having relatives in the industry. I started working 15 years ago as an assistant director, moving up from being the guy holding the clapperboard all the way to first assistant director.

What is the biggest misunderstanding about the Arab World and/or its entertainment industry?
The notion that “the Arab audience doesn’t want to watch indie films.” They’re just not as properly marketed as commercial movies.

What will have the greatest game-changing effect on Arab cinema?
Arab film festivals and support funds accelerated the production cycle for Arab films. The more these initiatives are implemented, the more the Arab indie films will grow and become more recognizable internationally.

How do you recognize real talent?
Talented people always have unique identities and are not afraid to explore things without fears and mediocrity that push them to do stereotypical things, as many people did before.