Female Filmmaker Friday: Nadine Labaki, First Lebanese Female Filmmaker to be Nominated for an Oscar
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"Every single person that is in the film is not an actor. Every single person is actually coming with their own story, with their own struggle, with their own suffering, with their own self expression."
Nadine Labaki is a Lebanese director, writer, producer, and actress.
Growing up in war-torn Lebanon, Labaki has had an early education in the extremes of life—highs and lows. She has overcome much and aimed to tell stories important to her country, and women specifically. She went to school in Beirut and earned prizes for directing shorts and music videos.
In 2006, she directed and starred in her debut feature film Caramel, a comedy featuring five Lebanese women living in Beirut. She followed that up with Where Do We Go Now? in 2011, and Rio, I Love You in 2014, all the while acting in other, as well as her own, projects.
In 2018, Labaki directed, co-wrote, and starred in Capernaum, a film about a twelve-year-old boy who sues his parents for neglect after serving five years for a violent crime. The film has received much acclaim, including being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In another year where women filmmakers have once again been overlooked by the Academy, Labaki is one of the few female filmmakers who is nominated. This also makes her the first Lebanese woman to be nominated for an Oscar. A grand achievement, and one that will hopefully pave the way for more women to follow her.
Here is a great interview with Nadine Labaki discussing the film's star, Zain Al Rafeea, and how lucky she felt to find, not only him, but the real people of the area to star in this film: