Past Successful Graduates

Najwa Najjar

School: American University
Field of Studies: Narrative Fiction
Website Reference:,
Major Achievements: Najwa Najjar (Arabic: نجوى نجار‎) is a Palestinian-Jordanian filmmaker. She began her career making commercials and has worked in both documentary and fiction since 1999. Her debut feature film Pomegranates and Myrrh picked up 10 international awards, sold worldwide and was released theatrically and screened at over 80 international festivals.[1]

Najjar's work includes several award-winning films also shown worldwide; Yasmine Tughani (2006), Naim and Wadee’a (1999), Quintessence of Oblivion (2000),[2] Blue Gold (2004), A Boy Called Mohamad (2002), and They Came from the East which opened the 2004 European Academy Awards.[3]

Najjar produced a collection of short films by international filmmakers Gaza Winter (2009) and produced a second long feature Eyes of A Thief, a Palestinian/Algerian/French/Icelandic co-production which received the support of Sundance Scriptwriting Lab, Sundance Duke Award, Dubai Film Connection, Jordan Film Fund and was a participant in the Rome International film Festival New Cinema Network.[4]

The 1999 documentary film Naim and Wadee’a was based on Najjar's family and includes the oral histories of Na’im Azar and Wadee’a Aghabi, a couple who were forced to leave their Jaffa home in 1948. The film tied for the Award for Films of Conflict and Resolution at the 2000 Hamptons International Film Festival.[5]

Najjar's first fictional film, Pomegranates and Myrrh, features a young Palestinian dancer who defends her family's land after her husband is sent to an Israeli prison.[6][7] According to Najjar, when the film was first screened in Ramallah there was public outcry[8] over the film's portrayal of "what was deemed its 'unpatriotic' portrayal of an untrustworthy wife of a political prisoner."[9] At the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, the film won the Best Arab Film award.[10][11]

A speaker on numerous panels on cinema and a member of International Film Festival Juries, Najjar has also reviewed books, and her articles on Palestinian cinema have b

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