We are truly honoured to present our Qumra Masters, a group of internationally renowned creative visionaries who will share with us their professional insights in a series of inspirational Master Classes to support the development of global storytelling.

  • Atom Egoyan

    Atom Egoyan

    Atom Egoyan, C.C., B.A., D.Litt., L.L.D., R.C.A., born in Cairo, Egypt, is a renowned figure in the cinematic world, lauded for his roles as writer, director, and producer. His illustrious career encompasses numerous critically acclaimed feature films...
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    Among these are six that have competed for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival—‘Exotica’ (1994), ‘The Sweet Hereafter’ (1997), ‘Felicia’s Journey’ (1999), ‘Where the Truth Lies’ (2005), ‘Adoration’ (2008), and ‘The Captive’ (2014)—a testament to his reputation and standing in the international film community. Egoyan’s ‘Ararat’ (2002), a poignant exploration of the Armenian Genocide, was also featured at Cannes.

    Egoyan’s accolades include five awards at the Cannes Film Festival – the Grand Prix, International Critics Awards, and Ecumenical Jury Prizes. His exceptional talent has also earned him two Academy Award® nominations and twenty-five Genie Awards (Canadian Screen Awards), featuring three Best Film Awards. Egoyan’s films have graced numerous international film festivals, including Venice, TIFF, Berlinale and New York, with his work celebrated through retrospectives in cities like Paris, Madrid, New York, Brussels, and Mexico City, offering comprehensive overviews of his remarkable career.

    Demonstrating his talent as a storyteller across any form, Egoyan has achieved similar acclaim in opera and theatre. His 2015 direction of ‘Die Walküre’ swept the Dora Awards with nine nominations, with Egoyan winning for Best Direction, and he was honoured with a 2016 Opera Canada Award (Rubie) for Film and Stage Direction. Egoyan’s theatre productions have also received widespread critical recognition, notably his interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Eh Joe’, which won The Irish Times/ESB Award for Best Direction. This production, starring Michael Gambon and Penelope Wilton, was described as ‘the greatest half-hour in theatrical history’ by The Sunday Times. His art installations have been showcased at the Venice Biennale and various prestigious institutions, with his work ‘Steenbeckett’, commissioned by the UK’s Artangel, forming part of the Tate’s permanent collection.

    His latest film, ‘Seven Veils’, just recently had its International Premiere at the 2024 Berlin Film Festival, adding to his legacy of mesmerising storytelling and visual artistry. Egoyan has been knighted by the French government and is a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour. He is also a recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement—a fitting accolade for a visionary who has profoundly influenced the realms of cinema, opera, theatre, and art.

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  • Claire Denis

    Claire Denis

    Claire Denis, an illustrious French film director and writer, is celebrated as one of contemporary Europe’s most distinctive auteurs. Her work, deeply rooted in her childhood memories, delves into the complexities of colonial and post-colonial West Africa and modern France...
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    Denis’ directorial debut and Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or nominated ‘Chocolat’ (1988) is a semi-autobiographical reflection on African colonialism that examines racial tension, forbidden desire and belonging—themes that would later go on to define her as a filmmaker.

    Her portfolio of work includes acclaimed films such as ‘US Go Home’ (1994), Locarno Golden Leopard winner, ‘Nénette et Boni’ (1996), ‘Beau Travail’ (1999), ‘Trouble Every Day’ (2001), and ‘Vendredi Soir’ (2002). Denis’s ’35 Rhums’ (2009) received widespread acclaim for its portrayal of a father-daughter relationship within a mixed immigrant community. Her film ‘Bastards’ (2013) was presented at Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival in 2013. In 2017, Denis returned to Cannes with ‘Let The Sunshine In’, screened as the opening film in Directors’ Fortnight and winner of the SACD prize. In 2018, she ventured into English-language cinema with ‘High Life’, starring Robert Pattinson. Denis enjoyed an incredibly successful and deservedly acclaimed 2022 with her emotionally cutting ‘Both Sides of the Blade’ winning the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and her enigmatic ‘Stars at Noon’, nominated for the Palme d’Or and awarded the Grand Prize of the Cannes Film Festival.

    Recognised for their unique approach, Denis’ films challenge viewers to confront the boundaries of body, culture, and identity. Over the five decades of her career, Denis has become a fearless chronicler of life in colonial and post-colonial Africa, evident in films like ‘White Material’ (2009). In 2023, she received the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Career Achievement Award, highlighting her status as one of the best living filmmakers and a master at depicting the inner self and the lines that divide us.

    Claire Denis’ career is a testament to her extraordinary talent in capturing nuanced human experiences through film. She is renowned for her ability to explore the delicate interplay between individuals and how seemingly trivial connections can profoundly alter lives. At the core of Denis’ cinematic voice lies an intrigue with the joy and challenges of belonging and otherness, often focusing on how the intrusion of an outsider, be it a stranger or a foreigner, necessitates the coexistence of the conventional with the unconventional. Her work has not only inspired and advanced French cinema but also offers a profound reflection on colonial legacies and personal identities.

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  • Jim Sheridan

    Jim Sheridan

    Jim Sheridan is an eminent Irish playwright, screenwriter, film director, and producer whose work has significantly influenced both film and theatre over the past four decades. His remarkable journey began with directing two critically acclaimed films set in Ireland, ‘My Left Foot’ (1989) and ‘In the Name of the Father’ (1993), followed by other notable works like ‘The Boxer’ (1997) and ‘In America’ (2002)...
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    Throughout his career, Sheridan has earned six Academy Award nominations, a testament to his profound impact on cinema.

    Sheridan’s influence extends beyond the director’s chair. He has been a pivotal figure in Ireland’s cultural landscape, co-founding the avant-garde Project Theatre in Dublin with director Neil Jordan and serving as the Director of The Irish Arts Center in New York. His films, which have garnered 16 Academy Award nominations, 14 Golden Globe nominations, three Berlin International Film Awards, three Writers Guild of America Awards, eight BAFTA, and eight Irish Film and Television Academy Awards, reflect his deep connection to Irish life and its relationship with the wider world.

    His collaborations with Daniel Day-Lewis in three films, including the Academy Award-winning ‘My Left Foot’, have not only showcased Sheridan’s ability as a director but also played a part in establishing Day-Lewis as, according to Time Magazine, ‘The World’s Greatest Actor’. Sheridan’s versatility as a filmmaker is further highlighted by his work on big-budget studio productions such as ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), ‘Brothers’ (2009), and ‘Dream House’ (2011).

    Sheridan has produced his own large-budget productions and has helped nurture the voices of many other rising Irish talents. He has supported Academy Award-winning writer/director Terry George, director John Carney, whose film ‘Once’ won an Academy Award in 2008, and Paul Greengrass for his breakthrough movie ‘Bloody Sunday’. Sheridan also wrote ‘Into the West’ for director Mike Newell, who later directed the critically acclaimed ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’.

    Sheridan’s extensive and varied career highlights his unique ability to capture the essence of Irish identity and its nuances. His contributions to film and theatre have truly enriched Irish cultural life and left an indelible mark on the international stage—cementing his place as an iconic contributor and supporter of the creative arts worldwide.

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  • Leos Carax

    Leos Carax

    Leos Carax is a filmmaker whose work defies the conventional boundaries of narrative and style. Beginning as a film critic, Carax swiftly transitioned to filmmaking, presenting his feature directorial debut ‘Boy Meets Girl’ in 1984 at Cannes Critic’s Week, which signalled the arrival of a prodigious talent, marrying a deep understanding of film language with a unique cinematic voice. Carax’s filmography is rich with thematic and stylistic innovations...
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    Following his debut, he directed the Berlinale Golden Bear-nominated ‘Mauvais Sang’ (Bad Blood, 1986), a film that further established his reputation as a director with a distinctive visual and narrative style. This was succeeded by ‘Les Amants du Pont Neuf’ (The Lovers on the Bridge, 1991), a film that combines gritty realism with poetic romanticism, showcasing Carax’s ability to blend contrasting elements into a harmonious whole.

    After a hiatus from feature filmmaking, Carax returned with the Palme d’Or nominated ‘Pola X’ in 1999, a film that continued his exploration of intense emotional and visceral landscapes. In 2008, he contributed to the anthology film ‘Tokyo!’, which was screened at Un Certain Regard in Cannes and highlighted his adaptability and willingness to experiment within different formats and storytelling frameworks. Carax’s 2012 film ’Holy Motors’, selected for Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival, is perhaps his most audacious and critically acclaimed work. The film, a kaleidoscopic journey through the life of a man living multiple lives in a single day, is a testament to Carax’s skill in bending cinematic conventions and his fearlessness in exploring the surreal and the avant-garde.

    His latest feature film, ‘Annette’ (2021), a pop-rock melodrama starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, represents a culmination of his stylistic and thematic preoccupations. The film, which received the prize for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, along with four Lumière awards and five Césars, including Best Director, is a testament to Carax’s enduring ability to innovate and captivate. ‘Annette’ blends elements of music, drama, and fantasy, creating a cinematic experience that is both unique and unforgettable. Leos Carax’s career is marked by a relentless pursuit of artistic innovation, an unwavering commitment to emotional authenticity, and a daring that challenges and expands the possibilities of cinema. His work provokes and inspires, solidifying his status as a true master in the world of film.

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  • Martín Hernández

    Martín Hernández

    Martín Hernández is an internationally revered supervising sound editor and sound designer whose distinguished career has seen him become a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Sound Editing for ‘Birdman’ (2014) and ‘The Revenant’ (2015), directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu...
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    He is also a BAFTA winner for ‘The Revenant’ and has been nominated for ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, ‘Babel’, and ‘Birdman’.

    Recently, Hernández co-supervised and designed for director Issa López the 4th season of the HBO critically acclaimed ‘True Detective: Night Country’. In the last couple of years, Hernández and his team made the sound for ‘Radical’, a film by director Chris Zalla, debuting at Sundance Film Festival 2023, co-supervised ‘Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths’ by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’ by Josephine Decker, and ‘Emily the Criminal’ by John Patton Ford. In 2020, he re-mixed the ’Amores Perros’ soundtrack released by Criterion Collection on the 20th Anniversary of the film. Martín Hernández has been directing the Sound Post division at Cinematic Media, developing series for HBO, Netflix, and Amazon.

    Hernández began his career in 1985 as a radio host and producer at Mexico City’s WFM969, where he worked alongside Alejandro G. Iñárritu, creating radio short stories and an on-air production style that became a hallmark of the era. He ventured into sound design for film with Iñárritu’s first feature, ‘Amores Perros’ (2000), which earned a Golden Globe nomination and an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. His collaborations extend to directors like Fernando Meirelles for ‘City of God’, Guillermo Del Toro for ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and ‘Hellboy II’, Sean Penn for ‘Into the Wild’, Walter Salles for ‘On the Road’, Joe Swanberg for ‘Digging For Fire’ and ‘Win It All’, and Josephine Decker for ‘Thou Wast Mild and Lovely’ and ‘Madeline’s Madeline’.

    Martín Hernández’s mastery in crafting auditory experiences that elevate the narrative essence of films has established him as a luminary in the field. His critically acclaimed work is a testament to his exceptional ability to create immersive soundscapes that transport audiences into the heart of the story. His nuanced understanding of sound as a narrative tool and his innovative use of technology have not only earned him prestigious accolades but have also profoundly influenced the art of cinematic sound. Through his pioneering efforts, Hernández continues to redefine the boundaries of auditory experience in film, making him a true master of sound design.

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