Since 2018, Orwa Nyrabia (he/him) has been the Artistic Director of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, IDFA, the world’s largest documentary film and new media festival. At IDFA, Orwa is a member of the board of directors, overseeing the organization's various programs and offers.
Born in Syria 1977, Nyrabia is a graduate of Damascus’ Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts. He started his film career as an actor and worked as 1st Assistant Director on fiction films. He also worked as a journalist between 1997 and 2003.
Nyrabia is one half of a documentary film duo with director-producer Diana El Jeiroudi. Together, they co-founded a documentary film production company in 2002. In 2008, the duo co-founded the Syria’s first independent film festival, DOX BOX, which quickly became the region’s leading documentary event and welcomed filmmakers such as Patricio Guzman, Pirjo Honkasalo, Omar Amiralay, DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Nicolas Philibert, among others.
Nyrabia and El Jeiroudi had to leave Syria in 2012, ending up in Germany, where they co-founded No Nation Films and continued their production work, and where DOX BOX transformed into a Berlin-based non-profit documentary film support association. Their filmography includes Lina’s 5 Seasons of Revolution (Sundance 2023), D. El Jeiroudi’s Republic of Silence (Venice 2021), GF Rosi’s Notturno (Venice 2020), O. Mohammad’s Silvered Water (Cannes 2014), T. Derki’s Return to Homs (IDFA 2013), among others.
Nyrabia is recipient of numerous awards including the European Documentary Network Award, Katrin Cartlidge Award, Celebration of Lives Award of the Biografilm Festival (all shared with Diana El Jeiroudi), George Polk Award, and the Nestor Almendros Award, among others.
He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Deutsche Filmakademie, The Netherlands Film Academy, and IDA. He currently serves on the boards of DOX BOX Association, The Festival Academy, and is the chair of the board of the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR).