The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences recently announced that Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar 's acclaimed film "Theeb" has been shortlisted for the 2016 Oscar for the best foreign language film.
In addition, the film has been nominated for two British Film Academy Awards including the 2016 BAFTA for best film not in the English language.
In celebration of this incredible achievement for Arab cinema, we take a look at 10 other Arab directors whose inspiring work continues to propel Arab films to new heights and well-deserved recognition.
1. Hany Abu Assad
Throughout his more than 20 years of film-making, the Palestinian director has been one of the most prominent ambassadors for Arab cinema and for the Palestinian plight.
Assad's "Paradise Now" (2005) and "Omar" (2013), both films that have highlighted the Palestinian cause, received international acclaim, numerous awards and were nominated for Academy Awards for best foreign language film. "Paradise Now" also won the 2006 Golden Globe Award for best foreign language film.
Assad continues to represent Arab cinema on the world stage. His latest film "The Idol" (2015), a biopic about Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf, was screened at numerous international festivals and has been well-received by critics and audiences alike.
2. Annemarie Jacir
The Palestinian director has pushed boundaries for Arab female directors for years. Jacir 's "Salt of the Sea" (2007) was the first feature film shot by a Palestinian female director and Palestine's entry for the 2008 Academy Awards for best foreign language film.
In addition, her short film "Like 20 Impossibles" (2003) was the first Arab short film to ever be an official selection of the Cannes International Film Festival; it also won more than 15 awards at international film festivals.
Her latest film "When I Saw You" (2012) won Best Asian Film at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival and was Palestine's entry for the 2013 Academy Awards.
3. Mahdi Fleifel
Like Assad, Palestinian director Mahdi Fleifel, who has become one of the most promising Arab directors over the past few years, has used his film-making talents to highlight the Palestinian cause.
Fleifel's documentary "A World Not Ours" (2012) delved inside the world of Palestinian refugee camps, which he himself experienced as a child, as did its epilogue, the short "Xenos" (2014).
The documentary received international acclaim and won multiple awards including honors at the Toronto, Abu Dhabi, Berlin and Edinburgh film festivals. Fleifel started a crowdfunding campaign in 2014 to give the film more exposure in the United States in an effort to highlight the refugee crisis.
4. Nadine Labaki
Labaki, who started her career as an actress, has gone on to become Lebanon's most successful director.
Her directorial debut "Caramel" (2007), which dealt with women in Lebanese society, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Labaki's "Where Do We Go Now" (2011), which deals with religious tensions in Lebanese society, also premiered at Cannes and was Lebanon's entry for the 2012 Academy Awards. The film also won the People's Choice Award at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
5. Amr Salama
Egyptian director Amr Salama's films, which tackled various cultural and societal issues that weren't previously represented in Egyptian cinema, have been internationally recognized for their originality.
Salama 's "Excuse My French" (2014) tackled bullying in Egyptian schools, while his film "Asmaa" (2011) told the story of an Egyptian woman with HIV. "Asmaa" won more than 18 international, regional and Egyptian awards.
6. Leyla Bouzid
After making several acclaimed shorts, the Tunisian director made her first feature "As I Open My Eyes" (2015), which chronicled the struggles of Tunisia's youth from a partly autobiographical perspective.
The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and went on to win several awards at the Toronto, Stockholm and Carthage Film Festivals. Its international acclaim continued when it won the top award at the 2015 Dubai International Film Festival, the Best Muhr Fiction Feature.
7. Majid Al-Ansari
In the same vein of Nowar's creation of the "first Bedouin Western" with "Theeb", Al-Ansari has broken boundaries with his feature film debut 'Zinzana' (2015), creating the first Arab "Tarantino-esque" thriller.
The Emirati director's neo-noir epic was the star of the 2015 Dubai Film Festival, premiering to astounding acclaim for its performances, production and Al-Ansari's direction.
8. Haifaa Al-Mansour
Al-Mansour is widely recognized as the first female Saudi director, she gained prominence not only for that, however, but also for her culturally groundbreaking films about the lives of Saudi Arabian women, many of which won her numerous international awards.
The director's "Wadjda" was selected as Saudi Arabia's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Academy Awards, becoming first-ever film from Saudi Arabia to be submitted for the Oscar.
9. Mir Jean Bou Chaaya
The Lebanese director proved to be one of the most promising new Arab directors with his feature debut "Very Big Shot" (2015), a black comedy that delves into various social issues in Lebanese society.
In addition to being a commercial success, the film was an official selection at the the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and it won the the top award at the 2015 Marrakech International Film Festival after being judged by a jury presided by legendary American director Francis Ford Coppola.
10. Nujoom Al-Ghanem
The Emirati director gained prominence for her ability to capture the spirit of the communities of the UAE in her authentic and heartfelt documentaries.
Al-Ghanem 's "Nearby Sky" (2014) about the UAE’s only woman to enter her camels in Abu-Dhabi's male-dominated camel beauty pageants, won best non-fiction feature at the 2015 Dubai Film Festival.