The US actress and producer Uma Thurman is set to join the jury panel for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region edition of the SundanceTV Shorts Competition, the competition’s organisers announced on Thursday.
Thurman will join Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, and Qatari-American writer and filmmaker Sophia Al-Maria on the competition’s jury. Other juror names and competition prizes are due to be announced shortly.
Launched by SundanceTV, in collaboration with beIN Media Group and the Doha Film Institute, submissions for the MENA edition of the SundanceTV Shorts Competition will end on 25 October, with the winners to be announced in November.
The Jury Prize for the 2020 competition will be judged on a number of criteria, including creativity, entertainment value, original storytelling and production values.
The winning films will be broadcast across the region on SundanceTV, via beIN channel 75, later on in the year. Thurman, Jacir and Al-Maria complete the jury led by television industry veteran, Harold Gronenthal, who is Executive Vice President, Programming and Marketing for AMC Networks International, broadcaster of SundanceTV outside of North America.
The competition winner will also participate in an exclusive masterclass with Thurman, whose career includes Golden Globe wins, alongside Academy Award and Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Additional prizes include a state-of-the-art home entertainment package, and a beIN CONNECT Voucher.
Thurman is best known for her iconic roles in Quentin Tarantino’s cult classics, Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill franchise, which garnered her an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination, respectively.
She has starred in many acclaimed films, including Dangerous Liaisons, Henry and June, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, and Gattaca. Thurman earned a Golden Globe Award for her role in Hysterical Blindness, which she produced and starred in. Recently, Thurman was awarded The Actors Fund’s Medal of Honor at the Actors Fund annual gala in New York City.
Jacir has forged a pathway through new artistic territory as a filmmaker and poet, having written, directed and produced over sixteen films. Two of her films have premiered as Official Selections in Cannes, one in Berlin and in Venice, Locarno, and Telluride.
All three of her feature films were Palestine’s official Oscar entries. Founder of Philistine Films, she collaborates regularly with fellow filmmakers as an editor, screenwriter and producer.
In 2018, she was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and also served on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival and Berlinale. She is a cofounder of the newly established Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research in Bethlehem, fulfilling a family dream of establishing a space for the arts in Palestine.
Qatari-American writer and artist, Sophia Al-Maria, has produced a range of video art work which have been featured in solo shows at the Tate Britain and the Whitney Museum, to group shows at community colleges and online fundraising platforms.
She has also written a television series called Little Birds (Sky Atlantic) starring Yumna Marwan and Juno Temple, set in 1950s Tangier. Her first book, The Girl Who Fell to Earth was published by Harper Collins in 2012.
Entries can be submitted by the producer or director, who must provide proof of residence in the MENA region. Films should be no longer than 15 minutes, and must be delivered with English subtitles if English is not the spoken language.
SundanceTV Shorts competition is open for all who have a story to share, irrespective of whether the short film has been produced with sophisticated equipment or with a mobile phone.