Rana Kazkaz, an award-winning filmmaker, is an associate professor of communication in residence at Northwestern Qatar who teaches narrative filmmaking. Kazkaz’s films have been recognized at the world’s leading film festivals including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Tallinn, Tribeca, and Abu Dhabi.

She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University/Moscow Art Theater, BA from Oberlin College, and a certificate from the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women.

With a focus on Syrian stories, her producing, screenwriting, and directing portfolio includes The Translator (2020), Mare Nostrum (2016) which has been selected in over 100 international film festivals and won more than 30 awards, Searching for the Translator, a documentary (2016), Deaf Day (2011), and Kemo Sabe (2007).

Her first feature film The Translator (2020) won several grants and development awards including the Arte Award at L’Atelier de la Cinefondation at the Cannes Film Festival (2017), the CNC Award at Meetings on the Bridge at the Istanbul Film Festival (2017) and a Tribeca Alumni Grant (2018).

Article in the French paper Le Monde written by Benjamin Barthes: https://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2019/07/24/la-revolution-syrienne-revit-en-fiction_5492782_3246.html

The New York Times names The Translator one of five action films to stream now - https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/movies/action-movies-streaming.html

The Translator receives 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_translator

Her current film projects include The Hakawati’s Daughter and Honest Politics.

In 2021, she was invited to become a member of the Académie des César and was awarded the Roberta Buffett Visiting Professorship at Northwestern University.

Personal Websites




  • MIT-190 Media Construction
  • MIT-351 National Cinema: Arab Women Filmmakers & Post Arab Spring
  • MIT-379 Short Film Production
  • MIT-379 The Director’s Vision
  • MIT-379 Narrative Film Production
  • MIT-390 Directing Actors
  • MIT-399 Independent Study: Levantine Arab Theater & Advanced Cinematography
  • INTERDIS-204 Film and Design Collaborative



HONEST POLITICS – feature film in-development

THE HAKAWATI’S DAUGTHER – feature film in-development

THE TRANSLATOR - feature film (2020)

MARE NOSTRUM – short film (2016)

SEARCHING FOR THE TRANSLATOR – documentary film (2016)

DEAF DAY – short film (2011)

KEMO SABE – short film (2007)



HONEST POLITICS – feature film in-development

THE HAKAWATI’S DAUGTHER – feature film in-development

THE TRANSLATOR - feature film (2020)

MARE NOSTRUM – short film (2016)

DEAF DAY – short film (2011)

KEMO SABE – short film (2007)




SEARCHING FOR THE TRANSLATOR – documentary film (2016)    

DEAF DAY - short film (2011)

Festivals & Screenings


VOVF Traduire le Monde, Gif-sur-Yvette, France – October 2 2022

Le Cinemoviking de Saint-Lo, France – 18 May 2022

Festival de Chambery, France – 25 May 2022

Royal Film Commission, Amman, Jordan - June 14, 2022

Sciences Po Menton, France – 15 May 2022

Jeonju International Film Festival, Korea - 2021

Seattle International Film Festival, USA – 2021

Lunel Festival Traversées, France - 2021

Biografilm Festival | International Celebration of Lives, Italy - 2021

49e Festival La Rochelle Cinéma, France - 2021

Lyon Festival Cinémas du Sud / Regard Sud - Institut Lumière, France - 2021

Bienne Suisse Festival du Film Français d’Helvétie, Switzerland - 2021

Institut du Monde Arabe, France - 2021

Ferney Voltaire France-Suisse Festival de Cinéma des 5 Continents, France - 2021

Le Festival Cinéma de Rousset-Pays d'Aix, France - 2021

Prix Bayeux Calvados-Normandie du correspondant de guerre, France - 2021

Festival du Film Arabe de Fameck, France - 2021

Noisy-le-Sec Festival du film franco-arabe, France - 2021

Mostra de Valencia - Cinema del Mediterrani, Spain - 2021

Cinemamed de Bruxelles, Belgium - 2021

Festival Franco-Arabe de Bagdad, Iraq - 2021

French Cultural Institute, Beirut, Lebanon - 2021


MARE NOSTRUM *most recent below + list of 100+ festival screenings here: https://www.georgesfilms.fr/en/mare-nostrum.html

Earl’s Court for the Hands Up Foundation, United Kingdom - 2020

Semaine Du Film Arabe des Droits de l'Homme, France – 2019



Karama Human Rights Film Festival, Jordan - 2015



Abu Dhabi Film Festival, UAE - 2012

Palm Springs ShortsFest, USA - 2012



USA Film Festival, USA – 2007

BuSho Budapest, Hugary – 2007

Chicago International Film Festival, USA - 2007

Cannes Short Film Corner, France - 2007

Rotterdam Arab Film Festival, Netherlands - 2007


Seeroo fi al ardh, Qatar Tribune and Al Watan, review for Qatar Foundation. (2021)

The Hakawati’s Daughter: How the Syrian Revolution Inspired a Rewrite , a peer-reviewed paper for The Journal of Screenwriting, Volume 11, Number 3, Intellect Ltd. (2020)

Refugee Status: Privileged , a peer-reviewed paper for “Refugee Filmmaking”, Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media. (2019).

Arab Identities, Images in Film , interview with filmmaker Eran Riklis, Media Majlis, Northwestern University Qatar (2018).

Feature and Op/Ed Writer for Magazines/Newspapers/Online: Libya.tv.com, Baladna, What’s on Syria(Syria), Publio (USA) and The Arab (UK) (2007-2009).

Awards & Grants


  • CNC – Aide a la Musique de Film de Long Metrage: 8000€
  • SACEM – Aide a la Musique Originale de Long Metrage de Fiction: 8100€
  • Office Federal de la Culture (OFC), Switzerland: 160,000€
  • Tribeca Film Institute Alumni Grant, USA: $5000
  • Doha Film Institute Production Grant, Qatar: $45000
  • Forom Grant, Switzerland: 22,000€
  • Bourse stagiaire Fonction, Switzerland: $3000
  • European MEDIA Film Development Grant, France: 60,000€




  • Audience Award, Biografilm Festival, Italy (2021).
  • Audience Award, Lunel Film Festival, France (2021).
  • Arte Prize of the Cinefondation, Cannes, France (2017).
  • CNC Prize at Meetings on the Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey (2017).



Other awards not listed in the link:

  • Best Film, Latin-Arab Film Festival, Argentina
  • CIMA Award for Best Female Director, Spain
  • 2nd Place, Dublin Arabic Film Festival, Ireland 2021
  • Silver Award, UFVA Conference, USA 2020



  • Family Award, USA Film Festival (2007)