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'Caramel' (2007) not only announced a striking new talent, it challenged what many might have expected from a female Lebanese director. Undermining stereotypes and hilariously funny at times, it also offered an insight into the roles of women in contemporary Beirut. 'Where Do We Go Now' (2011) employed the same device used in 'Lysistrata' (and more recently Spike Lee's 'Chi-Raq', 2015) – where sex is withheld from men until they can learn to live more peacefully.
Mike Leigh's background in theatre and use of improvisation techiniques have resulted in some of the most distinctive British films of the last 30 years. The comic realism of 'Nuts in May' (1976) and 'Abigail's Party' (1977), both made for the BBC Play for Today Programme marked him out as a great director with actors. His film 'Secrets & Lies' won the Palme d'Or in 1996.
In 2006, Sebastián Lelio completed 'La Sagrada Familia', which premiered at the San Sebastián Film Festival, where it received many awards and international recognition. More recently he was distinguished with the Guggenheim Fellowship and received the support of DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm for the development of his new projects.
Born in Belarus, Sergei Loznitsa grew up in Kiev where he studied applied mathematics and later worked as a researcher on artificial intelligence. He then decided to study directing at the Moscow Institute of Cinematography, graduating in 1997. He has been making award-winning documentaries since 1996, and in 2010 he completed his first feature film 'My Joy', which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, to great critical acclaim.