Festival Patrons

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Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece OBE

Baroness Hussein-Ece OBE, is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords. She is the first woman of Turkish origin to be a member of the UK Parliament after she was appointed a working peer in 2010. She is the Gender and Equalities Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat Lords, vice chair of the British All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Turkey, Secretary of the APPG on UN Women.

Meral has had a long career in local government, elected councillor in 1994 to Hackney Council, where she became Deputy Leader of the Council. In 2002 she was elected to Islington Council, where she served for eight years, as senior councillor, on the Council’s Executive as Cabinet Member for Health and Social Services. Meral served as a Commissioner for the British Equality and Human Rights Commission.Meral was awarded the OBE (Order of the Officer of the British Empire) in 2009 in the Queens New Years Honours for services to local government.

In 2012, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (DLitt) by Coventry University, for her work to promote equality for ethnic minorities in the UK, and contribution to promoting peace in Cyprus.

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Tamer Hassan

British-born actor Tamer Hassan has appeared in 50 films alongside some of the biggest names in the business in his 15-year career. Splitting his time between Hollywood and London, his recent roles include in coveted TV dramas Fox’s ‘24: Live, Another Day’ with Kiefer Sutherland, NBC’s Dracula, and NCIS. He also appears in two feature-length films due out later this year: sci-fi adventure ‘Robot Overlords’ with Sir Ben Kingley and the ‘Devil’s Harvest’, a harrowing drama about Stalin, with Terence Stamp and Max Irons.

Hassan made his mark in the movie world when he was cast in the lead role of Nick Love’s The Business, released in 2005. His performance as loveable rogue Charlie gave him and the film an iconic status and cult following. It followed an earlier collaboration with Love in the award-winning Football Factory about English football hooliganism.

Since then, Hassan has gone on to perform in a diverse range of movies and TV shows, from Clash of the Titans to Batman Begins. His co-stars include the likes of Richard Gere, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Cage, Jet-Li, Daniel Craig and Christian Bale to name but a few.

More recently the multi-talented actor has turned his hand to writing screenplays and producing, including Dead Man Running with rapper 50 Cent and The Boys are Back, currently in pre-production. He is also keen to collaborate with Turkish cinema, having discussed possible projects with film legend Kadir Inanir, whom Hassan describes as “Turkey’s Robert De Niro”, and Kivanc Tatlitug.

Of Turkish Cypriot origin, Hassan’s parents are originally from Nicosia. His philanthropic pursuits extend to supporting the The Ben Kinsella Trust to raise knife crime awareness among young people, and he is an ambassador for Wateraid. Accepting an invitation to become a patron of GIIFF, Hassan says he wants to: “use arts, culture and film to bring Cypriots together” and to “help bring Cypriot talent through onto the international stage”.