Nadia Kamel

Nadia Kamel


نادية كامل

Nadia Kamel is an Egyptian film director, producer, and writer. She was born in Cairo in 1961 to a family of journalists active in the cultural and political scene. After studying microbiology and chemistry, she devoted herself to cinema. She worked as an assistant to many renowned directors, including Attiyat El-Abnoudi, Youssef Chahine, and Yousry Nasrallah. She started working on her own projects in the 2000s. Her successful documentary films include An Egyptian Salad (2007), which tells the story of her family and its multiple cultural and religious identities, and Green Mirage (2011), which tackles sustainable development in the Tunisian desert. In 2017, she spent nine months in the Assyut governorate to establish the first independent film school. Kamel has also served as a juror for international film festivals.She further developed the project of telling her family’s history, which began with An Egyptian Salad, in her acclaimed autobiographical novel Born (2018). Born is written entirely in Egyptian Arabic, an unconventional choice in Arabic literature, and cuts across multiple genres. The author focuses on her mother’s multifaceted identity as an Egyptian of Italian Jewish origins. As in her films, Kamel tackles topics that are often taboo and are only partly explored in the Egyptian cultural debate. Kamel is currently working on a hybrid genre film about Egyptian youth in the early eighties.

© Jesuits Cairo Film School
Date of birth : 1961
Country of birth: Egypt
Country of residence: Egypt
Publisher(s): Al Karma

Selected bibliography

* Working title


Débat avec Nadia Kamel autour de « Salade maison » en compagnie de Insaf Machta (in French) by Ciné-club du Festival des Cinémas d’Afrique au pays d’Apt, May 2020

Bien plus qu’une biographie (in French) by Al-Ahram Hebdo, April 2018

Al-Mawloudah: The life of a woman who lived with her own contradictions by Ahram Online, March 2018

Kamel raises complex questions about nationalism and nationhood, and shows how strong and yet how arbitrary our sense of who we are, and where we belong, can be by The National, August 2008

Rencontre avec Nadia Kamel, réalisatrice de “Salade maison” (in French) by Culture & Cie blog, March 2008

Prizes and awards

  • Born was awarded the prestigious Sawiris Cultural Award as best novel in 2019
  • Her film An Egyptian Salad was screened in several international film festivals and was recognised at the Mumbai Documentary Film Festival, San Francisco Arab Film Festival, and the Egyptian National Film Festival

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Cristina Dozio