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Orwa Nyrabia

Orwa Nyrabia (1977) is the Artistic Director at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Nyrabia was born in Syria and made a name for himself in the documentary world as a film producer, curator and programmer – as well as a mentor, an activist and a lobbyist.

Nyrabia worked as an actor in theatre and film and as a journalist before, in 2004, he started to produce independent documentary films. His filmography includes succesful titles like Dolls, A Woman from Damascus (2008), Return to Homs (2013) and Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (2014).

In 2008, Nyrabia and his partner Diana el-Jeiroudi set up the first documentary festival in Syria, DOX BOX, bringing renowned filmmakers such as D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Patricio Guzmán and Nicolas Philibert to Damascus. To focus attention on the violation of human rights in his country, in March 2012 and 2013 he co-organised a Global Day for Syria, with Syrian films being screened in cities around the world. In 2012, Nyrabia was arrested in Damascus for his political activism. Prominent figures from the film world, including Robert Redford, Robert DeNiro, Juliette Binoche, Jeremy Irons, Mike Leigh and Danny Boyle, protested his arrest by the Syrian regime. Following release he fled the country, going on to work as a producer in Egypt and Berlin. He co-founded Proaction Film and later No Nation Films GmbH, to continue producing uncompromising documentaries and international co-productions.

Nyrabia is a member of the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Deutsche Filmakademie, the International Documentary Association (IDA) and the European Documentary Network (EDN). He has received several awards and distinctions during his career, including the George Polk Award for Documentary Film and a European Documentary Network Award. He was appointed Artistic Director at IDFA in January 2018.