Born and raised in Beirut, Jessy Moussallem wrote and directed a music video for pop band Mashrou’ Leila ‘Romanʼ in 2017 – a film that included one hundred cast members in an ode to the strength and grace of Arab women. The film trended as Number One on YouTube, was nominated at the UKMVAʼs and for a Cannes Glass Lions, won a Gold Screen for Changing The World Frame By Frame at the Young Directorʼs Award and was featured in the Saatchi a Saatchi New Director Showcase this year curated by Ridley Scott who picked it out as one of his 5 most inspiring films: “Seeing narratives about people being true to themselves—and seeing their joy while doing so—is crucial. Moussallem delivers a truly special short that gives viewers a taste of just that with striking imagery and dance all while having subverting expectations for where it seems like it is going.”
In 2018, Moussallem continued using her native Lebanon as the backdrop in a study of heroics and masculinity for French DJ Agoriaʼs song ‘Embraceʼ and a 15-minute short film on the communities that cultivate the countryʼs infamous red hashish for Damian Lazarusʼ album Heart of Sky. She received new nominations at the UKMVAs, got shortlisted for Best New Director at The Shots Awards and won Next director at the D&AD.
This determined young directorʼs work is characterised by the raw humanity of her subjects and the mastery of her visions, rich with emotion and a nuanced insistance on freedom.