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Mustafa Abu Ali

Pioneer and visionary of Palestinian cinema and political documentary.

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Date of Birth:



Jerusalem, Palestine

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Mustafa Abu Ali was instrumental in founding Palestinian cinema, merging artistic expression with political activism. His documentaries reflect the Palestinian struggle, earning him recognition as a cornerstone in Palestinian cinema's development.

Brief bio

Mustafa Abu Ali was a groundbreaking Palestinian filmmaker, known for his politically charged documentaries that vividly portray the Palestinian experience. His work is characterized by its engagement with the Palestinian struggle for identity and statehood, making significant contributions to the global understanding of the Palestinian narrative.

Major Milestones


  • 1961-1964: Studied at the College of Architecture, Berkeley University.

  • 1967: Graduated from the London School of Film Technique.

  • 1970: Assisted Jean Luc Godard in Jordan.

  • 1973: Elected Chairman of the Palestinian Cinema Group, Beirut.

  • 2004: Relaunched the Palestinian Cinema Group in Ramallah.

  • Founding Palestinian Cinema: Helped establish Palestinian cinema under the PLO and the Palestinian Cinema Association in Beirut...See More

  • Directing "They Do Not Exist" (1974): A documentary depicting life in Lebanese refugee camps and the effects of Israeli bombardments.

  • Awards for Filmmaking: Won numerous awards, including at the Leipzig Film Festival and the Cartage Film Festival.

  • Publications on Palestinian Cinema: Authored "On the Palestinian Cinema" in collaboration with Hassan Abu Ghanimah.

  • Leadership in Film Institutions: Headed the Palestinian Cinema Institution in Beirut and the Arab Documentary Film Makers Union.

Date of Last Update: 
January 13, 2024

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