Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker Lina Soualem to serve on jury of Cannes Docs

Soualem's film 'Their Algeria' won the Docs-in-Progress Award in 2019

Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker Lina Soualem has been selected to serve on the jury at Cannes Docs this year.

Cannes Docs, which will take place virtually from Monday, June 22 to Thursday, June 25, as part of the Marche du Film Online platform, is a networking event that includes talks, special screenings and workshops, as well as a showcase of selected documentaries-in-progress from around the world.

The online event will feature eight showcases comprised of four in-work documentaries, unveiled in the form of a pitch and a 10-minute rough cut.

Soualem will be joined on the jury by Zane Balcus, head of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries in Latvia, and Lea Maria Strandbaek Sorensen, impact and workshop Manager at Nordisk Panorama, an annual film festival for short and documentary films.

Last year, Soualem presented her debut documentary Their Algeria at the Marche du Film, where it won the inaugural Docs-in-Progress Award. Their Algeria follows the story of Soualem's grandparents, who separated after 62 years of marriage.

While the full programme has not yet been announced, one of the films featured will be Egyptian director Ali El Arabi's Captains of Za'atari. The film follows Syrian teenagers Mahmoud and Fawzi, who live in the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan and dream of becoming professional football players. It's a dream that they feel could become a reality when an international sports academy visits the camp.

In an interview with The National, Soualem, who studied history, political science and international relations, said that she never intended to get into the film business until she discovered documentary filmmaking.

"[I] saw that through documentary films, it’s possible to tackle social, political and historical issues. I could talk artistically about things that interest me," she said.

Soualem, also an actress, is the daughter of French actor Zinedine Soualem and Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass (Succession and Ramy). She was also part of the team that launched the Haifa Independent Film Festival in 2016.

The winning films will be announced on Friday, June 26. For more information about Cannes Docs, click here