Shapers: Shamim Sarif and Hanan Kattan

Shamim Sarif

British writer and director Shamim Sarif is an award-winning novelist screenwriter, and feature film director. Her latest feature as writer/director is ‘Despite the Falling Snow’, which released theatrically in the UK in April 2016. The movie stars Rebecca Ferguson and Charles Dance, and is an epic story of love and betrayal in cold war Russia based on her second novel, published by Hodder Headline and St Martins Press to universal acclaim.

Shamin’s first feature film ‘I Can’t Think Straight’ won 11 awards. Her follow up movie ‘The World Unseen’ had its debut at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival before going on to garner 23 awards internationally, including 11 SAFTAs (South African Film Awards).  Her third film, a documentary called The House of Tomorrow, was shot on location in Israel and Palestine.

The World Unseen book won the Pendleton May First Novel Award, and the prestigious Betty Trask Award. It was selected for inclusion at all the major UK book festivals, including Hay-on-Wye, Cheltenham and Edinburgh.

Her next book and film, The Artemis Protocol, is a contemporary action thriller with female protagonists.

An accomplished speaker, Shamim has spoken at TED events worldwide, at the INK Conference in India and DLD in Munich. Her corporate speaking events have included Deloitte, Goldman Sachs and Citibank in London and Viacom in New York.

Follow Shamim on Twitter @shamimsarif.

Hanan Kattan

Hanan is the award-winning, sole producer of four feature films. Her latest feature as a producer is Despite the Falling Snow with Rebecca Ferguson and Charles Dance. The movie had its UK theatrical release in April 2016 and has won four awards to date.

Hanan’s first feature film ‘I Can’t Think Straight’ won 11 awards and her follow up movie ‘The World Unseen’ had its debut at Toronto Film Festival before going on to garner 23 awards internationally.

Hanan’s 2011 feature documentary. The House of Tomorrow ,was inspired by the TEDxHolyLand conference that Hanan co-curated in Jerusalem.

Hanan’s previous businesses included her own hair care brand, Te Tao. Shewon ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Kingston Business Awards in 2013. As an acclaimed author of digital marketing book ‘Grow Your Profits’, Hanan spoken at various business events and has joined panels at conferences such as DLDWomen and TEDx TelAviv.

Hanan’s latest venture is a casual dining concept featuring Palestinian-inspired food, with the flagship restaurant opening in Soho, London in July 2016

Follow Hanan on Twitter @hananfkattan.

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“I think both of us being kind of new to it meant that we didn’t know the rules that couldn’t be broken, so we just kept pushing to do things in a way that made sense to us.”

“My father would say ‘women should get married and have children’ while my grandfather was saying ‘no absolutely not she should do what she wants’.”

“…as a story teller I would find it very hard to write something that my heart wasn’t in.”

“If we have integrity within ourselves and we are feeling the honesty of what we are doing and the passion for it, that somehow translates – and I think it is a very human thing.”

“It is just sort of understanding the preciousness of life and how it can drip away if you don’t do something with it.”

“With every business, every aspect of life, there are always difficulties. But you can either accept them or find a way.”

“We know when we are sitting with people who don’t inspire us, who are tired of what they are doing – and you feel that energy no matter what words come out of their mouths.”

“There were a lot of barriers to us being together 20 years ago, as a couple from a Middle Eastern background, Indian/Muslim background. I mean there was nothing that was right about it…”

“Fifty percent of the world’s resources are women and in many parts of the world they are being completely underused or worse, abused.”

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