Nadine Labaki is a Lebanese actress and director, and she has been a High Profile Supporter for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency since 2018.
Nadine grew up in a Lebanon ravaged by the civil war until she was 17, when the civil war ended in 1991. Nadine began her career as an actress, and then began directing music videos before moving on to feature films, some in which she also stars. Nadine’s films have been praised for their challenge of apathy toward political unrest in Lebanon, and their sensitive depictions of social issues such as the refugee crisis, often shown through a female narrative. Her films are often cast using non-professional actors.
Nadine began work on Capernaum, her third feature film, in 2013. The film tells the story of a 12-year-old boy living in the slums of Beirut. Nadine extensively studied and interviewed children on the streets of Beirut for the film. Capernaum received wide praise, and was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and it won the Jury Prize at Cannes that year. It was also nominated in the Foreign Language category at the 2019 Oscars, making Nadine the first female director to be nominated in that category. She is also the first female Arab director to ever be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Nadine gave the keynote address at the 2019 Nansen Refugee Awards in Geneva. She continues to support UNHCR’s campaigns on social media, most recently making a video for World Refugee Day 2020 where she reflected on her time spent with Zain Al Rafeea, the Syrian refugee child actor who starred in Capernaum.