In another milestone for Tunisian actress Hend Sabry’s ever-evolving career, she just won the Starlight Cinema Award at this year’s edition of the Venice International Film Festival, where she was also the first Arab woman to serve as juror.

The Italian Journalists’ Foundation has been giving this award to acclaimed actors, actresses and filmmakers, including the legendary Al Pacino and renowned Italian filmmaker Andrea Pallaoro, since 2014 - and this is the first time an Arab receives the award.

With a 25-year-long career and around as many amount of awards to her name, Sabry has been a force to be reckoned with for Arab cinema. From Egyptian blockbusters to Tunisian gems, Sabry has played outstanding and empowering female roles, among which is her role in Tunisian filmmaker Ridha Behi’s critically-acclaimed The Flower of Aleppo in 2016.

Her other awards include the prestigious Faten Hamama Award for Excellence at the Cairo International Film Festival’s in 2017, and Best Actress at the 2017 Alexandria International Film Festival. 

In an interview with us earlier this year, Sabry commented on her recent turn to post-revolutionary Tunisian cinema: "I’m the child of Tunisian cinema. I learned with Tunisian directors. I learned how to behave on set, the rules of a set, what a movie family is, with Tunisian cinema. So it gave me a lot, and that’s why I need to be there for it now.”

Other awardees of the Starlight Cinema Awards this year include American civil rights activist and television host Nina Davuluri, Chilean actor Alfredo Castro, and Italian director Antonietta De Lillo.