The Jury for Documentary Films

Bahij Hojeij (Lebanon)

Bahij Hojeij is a Lebanese film director, screenwriter, and producer, born in Zahle, Lebanon, in 1948.

He studied theater and philosophy at the Lebanese University and later traveled to Paris to pursue cinema studies.

His cinematic journey began in the early 1990s, directing several documentaries and short films, including “The Green Line” (1998), “Beirut, Ruins Talk” (1993), “Challenges to Oblivion” (1996), “Beirut Reveals Its Treasures” (1997), “Kidnapped” (1998), “Lebanon, Letters from the Holy Land” (2000), “Harvest of Memory” (2001), and “Cities of the East, Beirut” (2003).

In 2004, he directed his first feature film titled “Ring of Fire” (“Zennar El Nar”), which received various awards, including the FIPRESCI Critics’ Award at the Kerala Film Festival in India and Best Supporting Actress for Julia Kassar at the Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia.

Among his notable narrative works are “Here Comes the Rain” (2011) and “Good Morning” (2018).

Yelena LARIONOVA (Kazakhstan)

She has 2 Bachelor degrees in different fields as well as a Master degree in Philosophy.

Yelena is the member of NETPAC and the member of the National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Kazakhstan). She has been working in film industry for already 20 years starting as the Line/Executive producer at Eurasia Film Production company (the line-up of the company includes Oscar nominated MONGOL film etc.).

Yelena was running many international promotional campaigns for the films made in/with Kazakhstan including Oscar campaigns for TULPAN and AYKA films dir.Sergey Dvortsevoy.

From 2010-2015 Yelena was working for Dubai International Film Festival and Gulf Film Festival (UAE) at the Program.administration department. From 2015-2017 she was the Program Director of Eurasia International Film Festival (Kazakhstan) and Bridge of Arts Motivation International Film Festival (Russia).

Starting from 2018 she has been the Program Director of Almaty International Film Festival. In 2021 Yelena evaluated a big research for UNESCO covering the state of affairs of film industry in Central Asia (published online).

In 2022 she launched Eurasian International Film Market in Kazakhstan and is its Director. Yelena is also working on films sales both in CIS and internationally and is being a film industry consultant with covering wide range of film industry topics.

Jesse Cumming (Canada)

Is a secretary, writer, and researcher. At the Toronto International Film Festival, he serves as the co-coordinator for the Long Waves program, having previously worked as a programming assistant in the department.

Cumming has been a programmer at the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival, a consultant at the Berlinale Forum, and Open City Documentary Festival. Independently, he has coordinated and presented programs with institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Tallinn Photomonth Biennial, Anthology Film Archives, ICA London, and more. He holds a master’s degree in Communication and Culture from York University.

Ivan Bolotnikov (Russia)

Russian film director and producer, graduated in art history from Moscow State University in 1996. In 2004, he completed advanced courses in screenwriting and directing, later establishing his film production company, Studio Actor, in 2014. Bolotnikov, a member of the European Film Academy (EFA), has earned awards at numerous film festivals.

His filmography includes the 2023 documentary “The Ideal Museum,” the 2022 feature film “Don’t Bury Me Without Ivan” directed by Lyubov Borisova, the 2021 film “Palmyra,” and the 2017 feature film “The Loss.”

Chergui Kharroubi (Algeria)

Chergui Kharroubi is an Algerian director born in 1953 in Ahamr El Ain, Tipaza province. He studied sociology at the University of Algiers before moving to Belgium, where he studied fine arts at the School of Fine Arts in Brussels, and then television arts at the Broadcasting Arts Institute.

Kharroubi is known for his cinematic style that blends realism with fantasy, focusing on issues of identity, memory, and migration. He has directed numerous documentaries and television programs for the Belgian television channel, including “Majda Belgica”, “Paths”, and “To Our Love”. He also co-directed the film “Africa is Back” with Salem Brahimi in 2010.