Japanese director Naomi Kawase will lead the International Competition Jury of the 44th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), which will run from 13 to 22 November this year.

Festival president Hussein Fahmy welcomed the participation of Kawase, confirming her role to lead the international competition jury as a valued addition to the activities of the coming edition. Fahmy added that Kawase has a distinguished career and possesses great experience that qualified her to obtain prestigious awards from various international festivals.

Festival director Amir Ramses asserted that the presence of a cinematic talent such as Naomi Kawase as head of the international competition jury is a continuation of the successful tradition established by CIFF over the years to invite the world’s leading filmmakers to this position. Ramses also added that the presence of an award-winning female director with such a successful career and rich filmography is a great inspiration to female filmmakers in Egypt.

The prominent Japanese director and writer gained worldwide fame after achieving many honorable successes during her career that began in the late 1980s.

Born and raised in Nara, Japan, Naomi Kawase continues to make her films there today. Her pursuit to capture “reality” through film beyond simplistic documentary-fiction dichotomies has received worldwide acclaim.

She is the youngest person to win the Caméra d’Or (for best debut feature film) at the Cannes Film Festival for Moe no Suzaku (1997). She also won three awards from the prestigious French festival for her films Mogari no Mori (2007) and Hikari (2017) and she also received the Carrosse d’or from the Directors’ Fortnight (2009)

After filming her two features Vision (2018) and Asa ga Kuru (2020), she was appointed the official Film Director of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and is a Thematic Producer for the 2025 Osaka-Kansai World Expo. She serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and was bestowed the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture.

Outside of film, she pursues other forms of expression including commercial directing, radio program DJing, essay writing, installation creation, and various other activities, including calligraphy.

Recently, she has become fascinated by Ryukyuan dance and has been working on conveying its unique expression of time and space through visual expressions and stage sets.

As executive director of the Nara International Film Festival, which she launched in 2010, she focuses on nurturing the next generation of visionaries and has produced nine films in this pursuit.