She taught at the American University in Cairo, University of Zurich, Humboldt University of Berlin, and at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where she held the position of researcher from 2016–2020. She served as the Head of Studies of the Documentary Campus MENA Program 2011–2013 and worked as curator and consultant for numerous international festivals and film funds, including La Biennale di Venezia, the Berlinale, Dubai Film Market, Rawi Screenwriters Lab, Torino Film Lab, and the World Cinema Fund.
Viola Shafik directed several documentaries, among others The Lemon Tree/Shajarat al-Laymun (1993), Planting of Girls/Mawsim Zaraa al-Banat (1999), Jannat `Ali-Ali im Paradies/My Name is not Ali (2011) and Arij–Scent of Revolution (2014). Current works in progress are Home Movie on Location and Der Gott in Stücken.
Her first feature film, Satin Rouge (2002), premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival. It won numerous awards and was acclaimed by the public and press alike. Her second film, Buried Secrets (2009), was included in the official selection of the 66th Venice Film Festival. This feature was shown at various other film festivals and MoMA. In 2014, Amari directed Tunisian Spring, a TV movie for ARTE Television, and her feature film Foreign Body held its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in 2016. In 2020, she directed She Had A Dream, which premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and was screened at numerous other festivals, including the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX), and the Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH).
In 2019, Amari became a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscars), and in 2020 she was named president of the jury of La Fondation Gan pour le Cinéma in France.
In 1986, she joined the film distribution company Tobis Film, where she was in charge of acquisitions and the exploitation of ancillary German-speaking rights. In 1995, she moved into film production and worked as a producer at Ziegler Film where she produced several film formats. In 1998, she established her own production company in Hamburg and worked with Mika Kaurismäki before moving to the Munich-based production company Hofmann & Voges in 2000.
In 2003, Rissenbeek became responsible for international festival relationships and public relations at German Films, the German organization for the international promotion of German cinema. She was appointed Deputy Managing Director at German Films in 2006, rising to Managing Director in 2011.