Competition: US & Canada
Julia Bacha is a Peabody award-winning filmmaker, media strategist, and the Creative Director at the non-profit Just Vision. Since graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University in 2003, she has strategically used documentary film and multi-media to foster constructive conversations on some of the most divisive issues of our times.
Julia started her filmmaking career in Cairo, where she wrote and edited Control Room (2004), for which she was nominated to the Writer’s Guild of America Award. Control Room became one of the highest grossing political documentaries of all times and introduced Americans for the first time to the inner workings of the Arab satellite channel, Al Jazeera.
Subsequently, she moved to Jerusalem where she co-directed, wrote and edited Encounter Point (2006), which followed Palestinians and Israelis who risked their lives and public standing to promote an end to the occupation and the conflict. Encounter Point premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, won best documentary prize at the San Francisco Film Festival and was broadcast on Al Arabiya to millions of viewers.
Julia then directed and produced the critically acclaimed feature documentary Budrus (2009), which chronicled the story of a Palestinian community organizer who united all Palestinian factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel’s separation barrier. Hailed in the New York Times as “this year’s must-see documentary,” the film successfully shifted the way international media covered the protests, as confirmed by an independent media-audit by Edelman PR.
Subsequently, Julia directed and produced My Neighbourhood (2012), which follows a Palestinian teenager struggling to reclaim his home in East Jerusalem from Israeli settlers. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, was released online by The Guardian and won the coveted Peabody Award in 2013.
Julia’s work has been exhibited at the Sundance, Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals, broadcast on the BBC, HBO and Al Jazeera and screened at widely diverse settings, from Palestinian refugee camps and villages to the halls of the American Congress and European Parliament. She has been a guest on numerous television shows such as Charlie Rose and UP with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC, and her work has been profiled on The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, The New York Times, Israel’s Channel 2, The Economist, Haaretz and Ma’an.
In addition to over twenty film festival awards, Julia is the recipient of the King Hussein Leadership Prize, Search for Common Ground Award, Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize, O Globo “Faz Diferença” Prize and the PUMA Creative Impact Award.
Julia is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Media Advisor for the Sundance/Skoll Stories of Change Initiative, a lecturer at the Journalism School at New York University, an Advisory Board Member to the Tribeca Film Institute, and a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. Her TED talk, “Pay Attention to Nonviolence,” was selected as one of the best talks of 2011 by the TED curators and has been viewed by a million people worldwide.
Julia is currently the Impact Producer for the award-winning feature documentary, The Wanted 18 (2014), which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is directing a multi-media piece on women leaders from the First Intifada, for which she was awarded a coveted 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship.
She lives in New York with her husband and daughter.