Beirut born actress-turned-filmaker, Nadine Labaki has had a pretty phenomenal year. No, that's doing it a disservice. She's had a year that's positively history-making.
Now is an incredibly exciting time for Arab cinema and Nadine has emerged at the very forefront of am industry firmly making its mark on the world's stage. Her latest endeavour will see Nadine return to the big screen for a project that lies close to her heart, the film 1982, about a teacher trying to cope and care for her young charges during the siege of Beirut.
Born and raised in Beirut herself, this piece of work is particularly significant for Nadine as her entire upbringing was dominated by the civil war which raged in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990. We cannot imagine the emotional experience the actress endured reliving years of trauma but it appears to have paid off in spades, with 1982 being selected to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.
Here are a few more must-know facts about a truly impressive woman:
1. Lebanese talent show, Studio El Fan, kicked off Nadine's career in 1990 when she won a prize for directing various music video productions.
2. Nadine is unique among Arab filmakers having chosen to studio in Lebanon, rather than abroad. She gained a degree in Audiovisual Studies at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut. Her graduation film, 11 Rue Pasteur won the Best Short Film Award at the Biennale of Arab Cinema at the Arab World Institute in Paris.
3. While participating in the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, Nadine wrote her first feature length film, Caramel. Unlike most Beirut based films, she chose not to focus on the political issues which have blighted Lebanon. Caramel was a comedy about five women who gather at a beauty salon.
4. Caramel was the movie to put Nadine Labaki on the map. It premiered premiered at the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival sold worldwide and established Nadine as truly a globally acclaimed director and actress.
5. In 2008 the French Ministry of Culture and Communication awarded Nadine the Insignia of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters.
6. This year Nadine Labaki became the first Arab and first female director ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
7. In 2016 Nadine Labaki was a candidate on the list of the new political movement Beirut Madinati which campaigns for social justice and female empowerment, gaining 40% of the popular vote but unfortunately ultimately losing against its opponent, the 'Beirutis' list'.