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Hakim Belabbes

Hakim Belabbes is an award winning Moroccan American independent filmmaker. Hakim taught film at Columbia College and The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He also restructured and ran The Film Education and Grants Department at the Doha Film Institute, and created The Qumra Film Festival Concept for the same Institute. Hakim created The Sahara Lab Initiative which he currently runs with partners Don Smith, Hammadi Gueroum and Peter Cohen.
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Don Smith

Don Smith is a professor in Cinema Art and Science at Columbia College Chicago where he specializes in producing, screenwriting and documentary. He is the co-founder of Semester in Los Angeles where he founded the Producing Program. He is an international consultant in digital learning and is an instructional designer for online programs and courses. He is a story analyst for the Doha Film Institute. He has collaborated with Hakim Belabbes for more than thirty years.
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Hammadi Gueroum

Hammadi Gueroum is a PhD laureate in literature and Cinema studies. He holds a Master of Arts in The Analysis of The Narrative Discourse. He is a professor of Cinema Aesthetics at Hassan II, in Casablanca. He is the President of the Moroccan Centre of Image Education, the Artistic Director of The Rabat Festival of Cinema D’Auteurs, a founding member of The Moroccan Association of Film Critics, and The President of the Film Labor Club in Casablanca, among many other things.
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Peter Cohen

Peter Cohen is a Swedish-Moroccan post-production supervisor. With a background in graphic design and photography, he worked for several years with acclaimed Swedish director Roy Andersson before embarking on the Sahara Lab journey. Peter handles all aspects of image post-production: transcoding, editing, visual effects and color grading.
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Amine Messadi

Amine Messadi is an award winning Tunisian cinematographer, a graduate of the new University of Cinema and Television in Rome. He has worked with Tunisian and internationally recognized filmmakers such as Ala Eddine Slim, Abderrahmane Sissako, Nabil Ayouch and Hakim Belabbes.
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Samir Mellouk

Samir Mellouk is a sound engineer and sound designer working in Chicago, Illinois and in Morocco. He has a BA from Columbia College Chicago and an MS from Depaul University Chicago. He has worked on many films, documentaries and animations as a location sound mixer, and as a sound designer.
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Ludmila Cvikova

Ludmila Cvikova has worked for almost twenty years as one of the programme curators at IFF Rotterdam. She has also collaborated with various European film festivals, and organized diverse cultural events in the Netherlands and internationally. At the Doha Film Institute in Qatar, Ludmila was heading the department of Film Programming. She is currently a creative consultant on production and film programming, as well as film curating.
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Rajesh Singh

An unexpected commercial lawyer with film institute experience in management, Rajesh is a dedicated mentor seeking to embolden cross-cultural realization of the potential for visual storytelling as a genuine revolutionary device for aesthetic expression. He has a keen instinct for the promise of self-expression in truthful cinema, and believes in encouraging, inspiring and nurturing untrammelled curiosity in original narratives.
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Michael Sullivan

Michael Sullivan is an El Paso, Texas native currently based in Chicago. As a founding partner of On The Real Film, Sullivan works as director of photography, editor and designer.
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Erin Babbin

Erin Babbin is a filmmaker and founding partner of On The Real Film, a Chicago based production company. Her primary goal is to elevate the stories of individuals in society whose voices are too often unheard. Her work is defined by a search for beauty and a passion for truth in storytelling.
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Dakota Sillyman

Dakota Sillyman is a young filmmaker and storyteller currently based in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to working as a photographer and documentarian he produces and hosts the Cope Radio Podcast.
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Nichole Harmon

Nichole Harmon is a freelance filmmaker living and working in Chicago, Illinois. She is passionate about storytelling and believes in the power of film as a tool to express complex ideas and emotions.
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Ahmed Hamad

Ahmed Hamad is an independent Palestinian editor and director of photography based in Chicago, Illinois. Hamad’s vision meets at the intersection of film and dance. His work is centered around social justice issues and abandoned stories.
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Erin Turney

Erin Turney is a filmmaker based in Chicago, Illinois. Her work is devoted to showcasing communities through the perspective of the people within those communities. This, she believes, is how her art can help her viewers understand a lifestyle and culture different from their own.
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Abbie Brasch

Abbie Brasch is a passionate documentary filmmaker currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She studied film & video at Columbia College.
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Haley Buntrock

Haley Buntrock is an award winning filmmaker with a strong experience in all facets of film and media production. Haley is using filmmaking as a way to help bring more awareness to people, organizations, and foundations.
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Nadia Touijer

Nadia Touijer is a Tunisian film director and editor who has been working on local and foreign film projects. She is a graduate of the INSAS in Belgium.
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Agnes Starczewski

Agnes Starczewski is a documentary filmmaker and editor based in Chicago, Illinois. She studied film & video at Columbia College.
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Oussama Lacfer

Oussama Lacfer is a young Moroccan filmmaker with an 8 year experience as head editor and director at the Moroccan Television Network (SNRT).
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