Koutaiba Al-Janabi

      Director, Cinematographer,

      Producer, Script writer




Koutaiba Al-Janabi was born in Baghdad and studies photography and cinematgraphy in Budapest, Hungary. He wrote his PhD thesis on the aesthetics of Arabic cinema. 

Koutaiba has worked as cinematographer on several feature films, such as Jiyan, the first Kurdish feature film, and as producer/director for televisions, n locations worldwide.

he directs and produces his own films and documentaries (The Train The Ever Restless Man etc.), with several of his films winning awards. for his work as cinematographer and as 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 director/producer, "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 in 2012 in Berlin.


Stories of Passers Through, Koutaiba's visual personal journey, a feature film shot over 30 years was screened at the Dubai International Film festival as work in progress, and is now being shown at film festivals around the world.


The third film in Koutaiba's trilogy of exile, "The Woodman", a surreal fairy tale is in post production.


  1. Hanna Heffner
  2. Executive producer,
  3. production manager





Hanna Heffner established Real Art Pictures limited with Koutaiba Al-Janabi in 1998. Since then she has been working as executive producer and production manager on Koutaiba's films.

Latest news


"The Woodman"- selected for the Cairo Film Connection, November 2018



"Stories of Passers Through" at the Ji.hlava creative documentary film festival in the Czech Republic  and at the Delhi International Film Festival in India (October 2018) (October 2018)


"Stories of Passers Through" at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, as part of the Safar festival (September 2018)


"Stories of Passers Through" at the Dubai International Film Festival 2017, in the Muhr feature category (December 2017)







Screening of "Leaving Baghad" in Libya

19-23 February 2013



Screening of "Leaving Baghdad" in Cambridge, on 12 March 2013



Koutaiba Al-Janabi's Photography collection "Foreign Light" published - available from March 2013.