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Jehane  Noujaim

Jehane Noujaim

Academy Award Nominated Director, Control Room, The Great Hack & The Vow

Jehane Noujaim

Academy Award Nominated Director, Control Room, The Great Hack & The Vow


Egyptian American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim has dedicated her life to directing and producing films between the United States and the Middle East. Before graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard, she was awarded the Gardiner Fellowship for Mokattam, an Arabic film she directed about a garbage-collecting village near Cairo, Egypt. Noujaim then joined the MTV News and Documentary Division as a segment producer for the documentary series Unfiltered. She soon left her position at MTV to produce and direct the feature documentary StartUp.com. The critically acclaimed film won countless awards including the DGA and IDA awards for best documentary.

Noujaim continued to work on numerous documentaries as a cinematographer, including Born Rich, Only the Strong Survive and Down from the Mountain, before directing her next feature in 2004. The film Control Room, a documentary that exposes the difference in media coverage between the Arab and the Western world during the United States’ war with Iraq, was also met with critical acclaim. It was for this film that Noujaim won the coveted TED Prize in 2006 (won previously by Bono and Bill Clinton). Noujaim was the youngest person and first woman to win the TED prize, a prize which grants winners a wish to change the world. Noujaim’s wish was to create a day in which the power of film could bring people from all over the world together to form a global community and allows them to gain a new understanding of each other. This day, called Pangea Day, consisted of a live videoconference featuring music, film, and speakers in cities around the world, including Cairo, New York City, and Rio de Janeiro.

Jehane Noujaim continued her directing career with the films Rafea, Solar Mama (2013) and The Square (2014). Filmed in India and Jordan, Rafea, Solar Mama follows women who leave their villages to be trained for six months in India as solar engineers. When these women return home, they bring solar power to their communities. The second film, The Square, follows the uprising in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, which inspired the country and the entire world. The Square was nominated for an Academy Award, won the Directors Guild Award, the International Documentary Award and became the first film to ever win the Audience Award at both Sundance and the Toronto Film Festival.

In 2019, Noujaim directed the Netflix film The Great Hack, which delved into the backstory behind Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and the 2016 election. The film was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special, for Best Documentary by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and for Best Writing by the International Documentary Association. Noujaim also worked on the Hulu comedy series Ramy, alongside Ramy Youssef, as an Executive Producer and Director of the Season 1 finale “Cairo Cowboy”.

Most recently, Noujaim directed the HBO documentary series The Vow which was listed as one of the best 10 shows of 2020 by the LA Times, The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly. The follow-up Part 2 of The Vow is set to air in 2021.

Noujaim has continued to work in the US and in the Middle East as a writer, director and executive producer. She has been a guest on television shows such as John Stewart, Charlie Rose, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, CNN's Fareed Zakaria and Meet the Press. In addition, for her films, she has been nominated as a Young Global Leader by the WEF in 2007 and named one of the “50 People Who Will Change the World” by Wired (2012), “125 Women of Impact” by Newsweek (2013) and “100 Most Creative People in the World” by Fast Company (2014).

Speaker Videos

TED: Democracy is Not a Destination

Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer

Jehane Noujaim Documents the Square

Speech Topics

The Square: An Eyewitness Account of the Egyptian Revolution and the Downfall of a Regime

Different Channels, Different Truths