Joumana El Zein Khoury

  • set 4 items

Joumana El Zein Khoury is one of the new board members at IDFA. As a guest curator she composed a set from our online collection, with, among others, Return to Homs.

Joumana El Zein Khoury joined the Board this spring, together with former GroenLinks-leader Femke Halsema. El Zein Khoury is director of the Prince Claus Fund.

"I’m very excited to join the Board of IDFA. Film is, of course, an important medium in today’s ever more digitalized and visual world. As part of the Prince Claus Fund, supporting culture in the broadest sense, we’ve had the privilege to work with documentary-makers with unique perspectives. And IDFA has often been key in acknowledging these exceptional storytellers. It’s exciting to find several of these visionary storytellers in their online library."

"For this set, I’ve chosen films that show the diversity of stories coming out of and about areas of the Middle East: an area of the world much talked about in the media but often too little understood in terms of its nuance and diversity."

"I saw Return to Homs when it opened IDFA in 2013. I’ve known the producer for many years now, an incredible creative person - Orwa Nyrabia, of Proaction Film and DOXBOX. This film shows the transformation of a city and its youth as seen through the eyes of two friends who start with idealistic political protest and gradually become hardened fighters."

"Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait is another story of Syria, but very different, by one of Syria’s great filmmakers. Ossama Mohammed was in exile in Paris when he was contacted by a Kurdish activist in Homs who asked him what he would film if he were there. His answer was ‘everything!’ Wiam Simav Bedirxan became Mohammed’s eyes and together they produced this truly unflinching portrait of the city under siege. Mohammed received the Prince Claus Award in 2015 for his contributions to culture and development."

"I love the premise of Satellite Queens - Behind the Scenes of a Prime Time Arab Talk Show: Four Arab women, different ages, different nationalities, different perspectives discuss life, love, family, work, sex. No topic is too sensitive. Their hour-long weekly show is watched on satellite TV all across the Arab-speaking world. Bregtje van der Haak travels from Beirut to Cairo, Dubai and Riyadh to see how the show has started taboo-breaking discussions and opened up the world of women, to Arab men as well."

"Nose, Iranian Style offers a very human look at social pressures on Iranian young people and how official dress codes for women have led to an obsession with nose size and an epidemic in cosmetic surgery. Mehrdad Oskouei is another incredible storyteller and Prince Claus Laureate who received the award in 2010."


Joumana El Zein Khoury was born in Lebanon en lived and studied in places all over the world, such as New York and Paris. She worked for several cultural organisations like the Arab Image Foundation/Baalbeck Festival, the Ford Foundation, the European Cultural Foundation, the Open Society Initiative (OSI) and the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation for Euro-Arabic exchange. Currently, she's the director of the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development.

Items in this selection

Return to Homs

  • Talal Derki
  • 2013

    A remarkably intimate portrait of the unequal struggle of a group of young revolutionaries in Homs, Syria, against the national army destroying their city.

    More info

    Nose, Iranian Style

    • Mehrdad Oskouei
    • 2005

      Why are nose jobs so hyped in Iran and what does it say about Iranian youth and society?

      More info

      Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait

      • Ossama Mohammed, Wiam Simav Bedirxan
      • 2014

        Devastating footage, partly filmed on cell phones, of the trials faced by ordinary Syrians. This is how cinema can have meaning in the face of war.

        More info

        Satellite Queens - Behind the Scenes of a Prime Time Arab Talk Show

        • Bregtje van der Haak
        • 2007

          Satellite Queens - Behind the Scenes of a Prime Time Arab Talk Show addresses the impact of satellite television on public opinion in the Middle East by focusing on the popular talk show Kalam Nawaem.

          More info

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