BEHIND THE RAINBOW
THE FILMTHE MAKING OFTHE FILMMAKERSTALKBACK
Around Independent Lens

The Filmmakers

Headshot of Jihan El-Tahri

Jihan El-Tahri
BEHIND THE RAINBOW Director/Producer

What keeps her motivated as an independent filmmaker:

Obsession. Most of the films I make attempt to examine the ways developing countries are not managing to break the vicious cycle of poverty, inequality, and bad governance. I need to understand how liberation heroes who sacrificed their youth for their ideals suddenly become unrecognizable when in power.

Her three favorite films:

Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore
Amores Perros by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Taxi to the Dark Side by Alex Gibney

Her advice for aspiring filmmakers:

You have to choose topics that come from the heart, stories you know that nothing will stop you from pursuing, because it’s an uphill battle. Don’t give up.

Her most inspirational food for making independent film:

Keep it grilled!

Filmmaker Bios

Jihan El-Tahri
Director/Producer

Egyptian-born Jihan El-Tahri holds a master’s degree in political science from the American University of Cairo and has worked as a journalist, a writer, and a filmmaker on numerous projects since 1984. She currently lives in Paris, France.

El-Tahri started her career as the Cairo correspondent for the Sunday Times (London) and as a correspondent for Reuters. She continued working as a correspondent for TV stations and newspapers for years to come, first as a TV researcher and associate producer in Tunisia and then as a correspondent for the Washington Post, Financial Times (London), and US News & World Report. She also worked in French television, directing a number of documentaries, and in England as an associate producer and writer for BBC and the director for Channel 4.

El-Tahri has provided professional support on four films of the Steps for the Future collection on AIDS in Southern Africa, and directed a two-hour program on the virus for France 2. In Zambia, she was the author/director of a 60-minute documentary about the international food aid system. El-Tahri also wrote and directed The House of Saud, a documentary about the political history of Saudi Arabia; and Cuba: An African Odyssey, about the Cold War as seen through African eyes. She has also written two books, one on Yasser Arafat and one on the conflict between Israel and the Arabs.

Steven Markovitz
Producer

Steven Markovitz runs Big World Cinema (BWC) along with Platon Trakoshis. BWC was established in 1994 and has produced a number of award-winning fiction films and documentaries. Recent documentary projects include the 13-part series Project 10: Real Stories from a Free South Africa (Sundance, Berlin, Hot Docs, Tribeca, IDFA), which Markovitz executive produced; The Tap (2003 Best South African Documentary: Apollo Festival and Stone Awards); and It’s My Life, an award-winning film sold to multiple territories, including BBC/ARTE/Sundance. BWC’s fiction projects include Inja (Oscar nomination, 2003), Husk (Cannes competition, 1999), Proteus (Berlin, Toronto, 2003), and Boy Called Twist (Cannes, 2005). Big World Cinema also co-founded and runs Encounters South African International Documentary Festival.

View film credits >>

Share your thoughts in Talkback >>


Tell a Friend top


Stay Connected

Do You Like Us? Then 'Like' Us! Come join us on Facebook and talk about the films, meet your fellow fans, and participate in a rich, ongoing conversation about Stuff That Matters.

Connect with us »

Check Your Local Listings
Find out when Independent Lens is showing on your local PBS station, and explore this season's line-up.

Check out the TV Schedule »


Community Cinema

Community Cinema is a national civic engagement initiative featuring free monthly screenings of Independent Lens films.

Learn more »

Explore films

Browse films by title or topic and learn about related interactive features.

Explore films »

Video

Find short-form and full-length video from the Independent Lens catalog.

Visit Independent Lens at PBS Video »

The Making Of

Explore the blog for behind-the-scenes interviews with filmmakers and more.

Visit the blog »


Independentlens Newsletter
Your email address:


Home | The Film | The Making Of | The Filmmakers | Talkback | Film Credits | Get the DVD | Site Credits watch preview BEHIND THE RAINBOW home page