Julia Bacha is a Peabody and Guggenheim award-winning filmmaker, media strategist, and the Creative Director at Just Vision, an organization that fills a media gap on Israel-Palestine through independent storytelling and strategic audience engagement. Since graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University, she has strategically used documentary film and multi-media to foster constructive conversations on some of the most divisive issues of our times.
Bacha started her filmmaking career in Cairo, where she wrote and edited Control Room (2004), for which she was nominated for the Writer’s Guild of America Award. Control Room became one of the highest grossing political documentaries of all time and introduced Americans for the first time to the inner workings of the Arab satellite channel, Al Jazeera.
Subsequently, she moved to Jerusalem where she co-directed, wrote, and edited Encounter Point (2006), which followed Palestinians and Israelis who risked their lives and public standing to promote an end to the occupation and the conflict. Encounter Point premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, won best documentary prize at the San Francisco Film Festival, and was broadcast on Al Arabiya to millions of viewers.
Bacha then directed and produced the critically acclaimed Budrus (2009), which chronicled the story of a Palestinian community organizer who united all Palestinian factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel’s separation barrier. Hailed in The New York Times as “this year’s must-see documentary,” the film successfully shifted the way international media covered the protests, as confirmed by an independent media-audit by Edelman PR.
Subsequently, Bacha directed and produced My Neighbourhood (2012), which follows a Palestinian teenager struggling to reclaim his home in East Jerusalem from Israeli settlers. The film won the coveted Peabody Award. Bacha also directed Naila and the Uprising (2017), which chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh whose story weaves through the most vibrant, nonviolent mobilization in Palestinian history—the First Intifada. Bacha received a Guggenheim Fellowship to produce the film. Her most recent film, Boycott (2021) explores anti-boycott legislation and related freedom of speech issues.
Bacha’s work has been exhibited at the Sundance, Berlin, and Tribeca Film Festivals, broadcast on the BBC, HBO, and Al Jazeera, and screened at widely diverse settings, from Palestinian refugee camps and villages to the halls of the American Congress and European Parliament. She has been a guest on numerous television shows, and her work has been profiled in The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, The Economist, and Haaretz, among many others.
In addition to over 30 film festival awards, Bacha is the recipient of the King Hussein Leadership Prize, Search for Common Ground Award, Ridenhour Film Prize, O Globo “Faz Diferença” Award, and the PUMA Creative Impact Award.
She is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, an advisory board member to the Tribeca Film Institute, and a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. Her TED talk, “Pay Attention to Nonviolence” was selected as one of the best talks of 2011 by the TED curators and has been viewed by more than half a million people worldwide.