Koutaiba has worked as cinematographer on several feature films, such as Jiyan, the first Kurdish feature film, and as producer/director for televisions, such as MBC, on locations worldwide, from Kosovo to the USA, from China to Yemen.
Koutaiba Al-Janabi was born in Baghdad, and studied photography and cinematography in Budapest, Hungary. He wrote his PhD thesis on the aesthetics of Arabic cinema. He now lives in London and Baghdad.
He started directing and producing his own short films and documentaries (The Train, Wasteland, The Ever Restless Man), with several of his films winning awards for his work as a cinematographer and as a director. Koutaiba is also a well regarded still photographer, with his work published and exhibited widely, as well as collected in two books of photography (Far from Baghdad, Foreign Light).
His first feature length film as a director, Leaving Baghdad, won first prize at the 2011 Gulf Film Festival, a British Independent Film Award in 2011 and was nominated for Cinema for Peace Award 2012 in Berlin and was recently screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Koutaiba’s visual personal journey, Stories of Passers Through, a feature film shot over 30 years, was screened at the 2017 Dubai International Film Festival as work in progress, won best experimental feature title at the London International Motion Picture Awards, won best film at the Gothenburg Arabic Film Festival, was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the British Film Institute in London.
The BFI in London hosted a preliminary screening of The Woodman as well as Koutaba’s Masterclass (“The Art of Exile – Filmmaking Masterclass with Koutaiba Al-Janabi”) in June 2019.
“The Woodman” has recently been completed, having won the main jury prize for post production at the Cairo Film Connection 2018 and received further post production support from the Doha Film Institute.
The next feature project in pre-production “The Cellar”