International Competition



The grandson of Greek immigrants, Alexander Payne grew up in Nebraska, USA. He studied at Stanford University before earning a Master's Degree in Film Directing at UCLA.   He has made eight feature films, which have been nominated for a total of 24 Oscars, including four times for Best Picture and three times for Best Director. He has won twice for Best Adapted Screenplay, and his latest, The Holdovers, won Best Supporting Actress. He is currently at work on the screenplay for a new film.



He instituted the Akira Kurosawa Lifetime Achievement Award. Has been invited to become Directeur Générale of the Cinémathèque Française, the oldest and most celebrated film archive in Europe. In 2003 leaves for the US to serve as Artistic Director of NYC’s Tribeca FF. Later Scarlet moved to the UAE to take the post of the Executive Director of Abu Dhabi FF. Also helped in creating SANAD, a groundbreaking development and postproduction fund. He has served on juries at many film festivals including Almaty, Cairo, Cannes, Dubai, Geneva Human Rights, Karlovy Vary, Los Angeles, and many others. Also, he is a Board member of Parajanov-Vartanov Insitute, Beverly Hills, CA.



Krikor Beledian is widely regarded as the most important literary figure of contemporary Western Armenian literature and one of its most innovative practitioners. A prolific novelist, essayist, and literary critic, he is the author of more than thirty volumes that have been published in the Middle East, Europe, Armenia, and the United States. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Beledian is a long-time resident of Paris, and has lectured widely in Europe and the United States.



Alexandria Bombach is an award-winning director, cinematographer, and editor known for impactful documentaries that focus on human stories with empathy and depth. Her latest film, It’s Only Life After All, opened the 2023 Sundance FF. The film features an intimate conversation with the beloved American folk-rock band Indigo Girls. Her first feature documentary was Frame by Frame (2015), a documentary about Afghan photojournalists that premiered at SXSW and won over 25 film festival awards. In 2018, her documentary On Her Shoulders, which follows Yazidi activist Nadia Murad, premiered at the Sundance FF, where Bombach received the U.S. Documentary Directing Award. The film was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards and shortlisted for an Academy Award. Additionally, Bombach served as the executive producer and editor of There Was, There Was Not (2024), directed by Emily Mkrtichian. The film follows four women in the Republic of Artsakh as they deal with the aftermath of one war and the onset of another. In addition to developing her next feature, Alexandria Bombach is currently working as a story consultant, as an editor, and building a residency for filmmakers in Santa Fe.



Jaime Martin Noguera is a cultural manager, who was the director of the Benalmádena International Short Film and Alternative Cinema Festival from 1998 to 2011 and the creator of the Marbella Film Festival.
Regional Panorama



Tarsem Singh Dhandwar was born in Jalandhar, India, and studied film at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has directed music videos for artists including En Vogue, R.E.M., Suzanne Vega, Lou Reed, and Lady Gaga. He’s also directed movies including The Cell (2000), the festival selection The Fall (2006), and Mirror, Mirror (2012). Dear Jassi (2023) is his latest film.



He is programmer at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival-INCAA and programme advisor at Festival Internacional de Cine de las Alturas in Argentina. He has been a delegate at the Warsaw Film Festival-Poland from 2005 to 2015. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Folklore at UNA, Universidad Nacional de las Artes. He also pursued studies at UBA’s Imagen y Sonido and he graduated as filmmaker in ENERC: Escuela Nacional de Realización y Experimentación Cinematográfica, where he has directed short films: “L’approach”, “Last Floor”, “The shadow”, “Jorginho” and “Travel Book”, awarded at Alberto Fischerman’ s contest in FNA, Fondo Nacional de las Artes. He presents monologues as a comedian in Buenos Aires off circuit.



Iranian-Armenian film director Anahit Abad was born in 1962 in Tehran. She received her primary and secondary education in Tehran. She pursued her university education in the field of Armenian language and literature. Anahit Abad took a film production course at the Islamic Center of Film Production, after which she began her cinematic career as a programmer and assistant director in Ali Reza Davoodnejad's film "Disarmament."
Anahit Abad continued her work in the film production field initially as an assistant director and programmer, collaborating on various Iranian films, and later directing her own film.
In 1994, Anahit Abad worked as an assistant director, translator, and programmer on Ali Reza Davoodnejad's film "Disarmament." In 1995, she collaborated as an assistant director on Abolfazl Jalili's film "A Real Story." In 1995, she worked as an assistant director on Ali Reza Davoodnejad's film "Asheghaneh" (meaning "Motivated by Love"). In 1996, she collaborated with Ahmed Reza Darvish as an assistant director on the film "The Homeland of the Sun" (Sarzamine Khorshid). In 1998, Anahit Abad worked as an assistant director with Iranian director Ali Reza Davoodnejad on the film "Sweet Agonies." In 1999, she collaborated as a programming director and assistant director with Ahmed Reza Darvish on the film "Born in October" (Motavalledine Mahe Mehr). In 2000, she worked with Homayoun Asadian on the film "End of the Game." In the same year, she collaborated with Ali Reza Davoodnejad on the film "Bad Kids." In 2008, she worked as the first assistant director with Varouj Karim Masihi on the film "Doubt." In 2010, she collaborated as a production director with director Kamal Tabrizi on the film "Calm Streets."




Paulo Portugal is a PhD student in Art Studies — Art and Mediation at NOVA FCSH, in Lisboa, with a theme in Cinephilia in the Age of Digitization. He has a career of more than three decades as a film journalist, participating in dozens of international festivals, many of them serving as a FIPRESCI Jury, such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, Toulouse, Lyon, Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Zanzibar and also, in 2014, in Yerevan.



Barbara Gasser is Vice President of the Austrian Film Critics Guild (AFCG), a voter of the Golden Globes, a member of FIPRESCI. She is the only Austrian journalist to have served two terms on the boards of directors of both, the Los Angeles Press Club and later the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Additionally, she was a jury member on a number of international Film Festivals including Cannes, Tromso, Mestia, Munich, Vienna, Palić  and Miskolc, participated in panel discussions and master classes. She won numerous awards, including the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award and the Southern California Journalism Award. She is the recipient of the Jackie Coogan Award and was named a Goodwill Ambassador of the State of Steiermark, Austria. Barbara Gasser holds a master’s degree from the University of Vienna and is a frequent guest lecturer at FH Joanneum.



Raffi Movsisyan is a film critic. Born in 1988 in the village of Voskevaz. He studied at the Film Studies Department of the Yerevan State Institute of Theater and Cinema. From 2012 to 2018, he worked at the "Golden Apricot" FF as a curator of Armenian film programs. In 2018-19, he was an advisor to the RA Minister of Culture. Since 2017, Raffi Movsisyan has been the curator of the film programs at the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies and a trainer of the "Oral History" special workshop. He was the author and host of the program "Unseen Cinema" broadcasted by the Public Television of Armenia. In 2020, he shot his debut short film. Since 2022, he has been the author of various programs related to cinema and art at the Bun TV Cultural Television Company.
Apricot Stone



Atom Egoyan occupies a distinct position within Canadian filmmaking - that of auteur. His unequivocal authorial vision and inimitable style are sustained throughout a body of work that includes 10 feature films. Raised in Victoria, B.C., Egoyan moved to Toronto at 18 to study international relations at the University of Toronto. While studying, two formative encounters fused to inform his life work - fluency with his ethnic heritage and the cinema. Egoyan produced several short films at the Hart House Film Board while furthering his knowledge of Armenian history and politics. His films relentlessly highlight the act of looking from both structural and thematic perspectives, fully exploiting possible implications from knowledge to voyeurism, to comprehension and insight. At the same time, the oft-used Canadian filmic tropes of identity and its uncertainty, image and technology, and communication or the lack thereof compete for equal thematic screen time. Key Egoyan sensibilities emerge in Next of Kin and continue throughout Family Viewing, Speaking Parts and The Adjuster. The films of the mid-1990s offer a more profound exploration of contemporary anxieties. Calendar wrestles with belonging and identity from here to Armenia and back again. With Exotica, perhaps an apt title for all of Egoyan’s enterprise, original trauma (Armenian genocide) shifts into the more familiar terrain of terrifying psychic dispossession. The adaptations of The Sweet Hereafter and Felicia’s Journey (novels by Russell Banks and William Trevor, respectively) effortlessly mesh with Egoyan’s preoccupations, as both stories' claustrophobic worlds turn on the themes of loss and violation. With Ararat, Egoyan widens the standard intimacy of his palette to produce the first film to wrestle with the Armenian genocide of 1915. Egoyan has won five major prizes at the Cannes IFF (including the Grand Prix), two American Academy Award nominations, and numerous other honors. His films have won over 25 Genie Awards, including three Best Film



He is an Egyptian film critic, programmer, and elected president of the international film critics federation (FIPRESCI). Publishing weekly articles about the cinema and entertainment industry. He has also published eight books on Egyptian cinema. Shawky is the Middle East head of development of “VIU” streaming platform, and the president of Egyptian Film Critics Association (EFCA). He is the head of CineGouna SpringBoard, the industry program of El Gouna FF. He worked as an artistic director/programmer for many film festivals including Cairo, Malmo, Aswan, Tripoli, Mumbai, among others. He acted as jury in various festivals such as Locarno, Shanghai, Eurasia, Transylvania, Macao, Luxembourg, Oran, and Taipei. Shawky was the president of the Cannes IFF 2022 FIPRESCI Jury.



Anton Dolin was born in Moscow in 1976. He developed a passion for cinema early on and pursued higher education in philology and journalism at Moscow State University.
Dolin began his career in the late 1990s, contributing to various Russian publications. His insightful reviews quickly gained recognition, making him a prominent figure in Russian media.
Dolin is known for his in-depth film reviews and cultural analyses. He has written for major Russian newspapers and magazines like Afisha, Iskusstvo Kino, and Moskovskiye Novosti. He is also a regular contributor to radio and television programs. He has authored several books on film, including: “Lars von Trier: Control Works”,"Roman Polanski: From Emigrant to Immigrant","Kubrick".
Dolin has received numerous awards, including: The Guild of Film Critics and Film Scholars Award,The Nika Award for Best Film Critic.
Recently, Dolin has expanded his influence through digital media, including podcasts and online publications, maintaining his status as a vital voice in contemporary cinema discussions.