Filmmaker/Screenwriter Annemarie Jacir '02, Coumbia Film Alum, To Receive Andrew Sarris Award At Columbia University Film Festival

April 21, 2016

The Columbia University Film Festival’s 16th annual Andrew Sarris Award will be presented to Annemarie Jacir ’02, an alumna of Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program. The Sarris Award, named for the late School of the Arts Film Program professor and world-renowned critic and theorist Andrew Sarris, honors outstanding service and artistic achievement of distinguished Film Program alumni.

Annemarie Jacir has written, directed and produced over 16 films. Named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema and part of Variety’s “Arab New Wave,” two of her films have premiered as Official Selections at the Cannes Film Festival, one an Academy Award qualifier, one in Venice and most recently Berlin with When I Saw You which won the Best Asian Film award there. Her film like twenty impossibles (2003) was the first Arab short film in history to be an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival.

“Annemarie Jacir is one of the most courageous artists I know. Since graduating from Columbia’s MFA program, she has directed several films, including the first feature film by a Palestinian woman director,” noted Film Program Professor and film director Bette Gordon (The DrowningHandsome HarryVariety) who heads the Directing concentration. “She told me once, ‘I live in Jordan and can see my Palestinian homeland but cannot go back and forth freely.’ Annemarie's films are poetic yet deeply rooted in real people and real situations. At the same time, her work celebrates what cinema is about – our dreams and our ability to change or escape.”

Jacir’s second work to debut in Cannes, the critically acclaimed Salt of This Sea (2008), was also the first feature film directed by a Palestinian woman. Palestine’s 2008 Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, it went on to win the FIPRESCI Critics Award, and garnered 14 other international awards including Best Film in Milan and Traverse City, screening at more than 200 festivals across the globe.
Her latest film When I Saw You won Best Asian Film at the Berlin International Festival, Best Arab Film at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and Best Film in Amiens and Phoenix. Garnering a nomination at the Asian Pacific Screen Awards, it was also Palestine's 2013 Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film.

Founder of Philistine Films, an independent production house, Annemarie teaches screenwriting and works as an editor as well as film curator, actively promoting independent cinema, training and working with fellow filmmakers.  Most recently she wrote a script for Mira Nair and is in development on her next film.

Jacir was highlighted in a 2015 Variety article.  

Learn more about Jacir here.

The award will be presented on Monday, May 16, 7:00pm at the Festival’s Screenwriting Night at MIST Harlem, 46 West 116th Street (between Malcolm X Boulevard and 5th Avenue).

The 29th Annual Columbia University Film Festival opens in New York on May 13, and runs through May 17. It runs in Los Angeles June 13-17.

Visit for up-to-date information and additional events, as well as a full list of Festival films, synopses, filmmaker bios and ticket information.