Jehane Noujaim

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Jehane Noujaim
Born Washington, D.C.
Occupation Documentary film director
Years active 1996–present

Jehane Noujaim (Egyptian Arabic: چيهان نچيم, IPA: [ʒeˈhæːn nʊˈʒeːm]) is an Egyptian American documentary film director best known for her films Control Room,[1], Pangea Day and The Square, that earned her documentary a nomination for an Academy Award.


Noujaim was born to an Egyptian father and an American mother. She was raised in Kuwait and Cairo and moved to Boston in 1990.[2]

She attended Milton Academy,[3] matriculated to Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude in visual arts and philosophy. The same year, before her graduation, Noujaim was awarded the Gardiner fellowship under which she directed Mokattam, an Arabic film about a garbage-collecting village near Cairo in Egypt.

She joined the MTV news and documentary division as a segment producer for the documentary series UNfiltered. Noujaim later left her job at MTV to produce and direct in association with Pennebaker Hegedus Films. The feature length, highly acclaimed documentary has won numerous distinguished awards including the DGA and IDA Awards for best documentary. She won the DGA Award again for The Square in 2014.

She has since worked in both the Middle East and the United States as a (cinematographer) on various documentaries including Born Rich (Jamie Johnson), Only the Strong Survive (Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker), and Down from the Mountain (D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Nick Doob).

In 2004, she directed the feature-length film Control Room, a documentary about US Central Command and its relations with Al Jazeera and other news organizations that covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2007, she co-directed (with Sherief El Katsha) the film which was broadcast as part of the WhyDemocracy project. In 2012 she released Rafea: Solar Mama (which she directed with Mona Eldaeif) and in 2013 released The Square, a film about the Egyptian revolution.

In January 2014 The Square was nominated for an Academy Award in documentary category. The Square also won critical acclaim in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival & the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Pangea Day[edit]

After winning the TED Prize, Noujaim used her wish to organize Pangea Day, a live videoconference that took place in New York City, Rio de Janeiro, London, Dharamsala, Cairo, Jerusalem, and Kigali on May 10, 2008. The show was internationally broadcast over four hours through internet, television and mobile phones. It featured films, speakers, and music.


  1. ^ Derry, Charles (2009-10-29). Dark Dreams 2.0: A Psychological History of the Modern Horror Film from the 1950s to the 21st Century. McFarland. pp. 382–. ISBN 9780786433971. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Biography". August 6, 2004. Retrieved 5 December 2013.  External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ "Jehane Noujaim '92, to Address Graduating Class". April 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2013.  External link in |website= (help)

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