A New documentary film from Director eRIKA COHN

When she was a young lawyer, Kholoud Al-Faqih walked into the office of Palestine’s Chief Justice and announced she wanted to join the bench. He laughed at her. But just a few years later, Kholoud became the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a (Islamic law) courts. THE JUDGE offers a unique portrait of Judge Kholoud—her brave journey as a lawyer, her tireless fight for justice for women, and her drop-in visits with clients, friends, and family. With unparalleled access to the courts, THE JUDGE presents an unfolding vérité legal drama, with rare insight into both Islamic law and gendered justice. In the process, the film illuminates some of the universal conflicts in the domestic life of Palestine—custody of children, divorce, abuse—while offering an unvarnished look at life for women and Shari’a.



Creative Team


Erika Cohn

Producer & Director

ERIKA COHN is an Emmy award winning director/producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top ten documentary filmmakers. Most recently, Erika completed The Judge, a film about the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and will be broadcast on PBS’ 2018 Independent Lens series. Erika co-directed/produced, In Football We Trust, an Emmy award-winning, feature documentary about the unique faith and culture that ultimately drives young Pacific Islander men into the NFL, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2016 Independent Lens series. Her work has been supported by IFP, the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Institute, Hot Docs, Sheffield, ITVS, Women in Film, BAVC and the CPB Producer’s Academy among others.  In 2013, Erika founded Idle Wild Films, Inc., which has released three feature documentaries and produced numerous branded content and commercial spots, including Gatorade’s Win from Within series, for which she received a 2016 Webby award nomination. Erika is also an avid photographer and served as a U.S. Ambassadorial Film Scholar to Israel/Palestine.


Geralyn Dreyfous

Executive Producer

GERALYN DREYFOUS is a philanthropist, entrepreneur and Academy Award-winning filmmaker with a wide, distinguished background in the arts. Geralyn’s passion for implementing social change through film inspired her to found the Utah Film Center and co- found IMPACT Partners with Dan Cogan. In 2013, Geralyn co-founded Gamechanger Films, a film fund dedicated to women directors. 

She has produced and executive produced nearly 100 feature-length films including the Academy Award-winning Born Into Brothels; Emmy nominated The Day My God Died; Academy Award nominated The Square; Academy Award nominated The Invisible War and multiple film festival winners. Geralyn was honored with the IDA’s Amicus Award for her significant contribution to documentary filmmaking and Variety recently recognized Geralyn in their 2014 Women’s Impact Report highlighting her work in the entertainment industry. From her courageous tackling of the horrific sex slave trade of Bombay, to her championing the victims of rape in the military, Geralyn has helped make films that give the silenced a voice and the underserved a platform of power. 


Ambassador Diana Lady Dougan

Executive Producer

DIANA LADY DOUGAN is an award-winning television producer and long-term pioneer in global information technologies and media. She has served under appointments by three U.S. Presidents in full U.S. Senate confirmed senior policy positions. During her two terms as a Director of Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), co- founder of the International Media Fund and Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination (UCSD), she led a number of innovative and unprecedented initiatives. She conceived and Exec. Produced the first live dual PBS/NPR specials with Bill Moyers, for which she won the Peabody Award for “Excellence in Broadcast Journalism”. 

Recent productions and outreach work include: How to Survive a Plague (2013 Oscar Nominee); Girl Rising (2013); Pandora’s Promise (Exec. Prod; CNN); The Square (2014 Oscar Nominee); Janice, Little Girl Blue (co- Exec Prod; PBS 2015); and Letters from Baghdad (BBC 2017). Her books include: Arab and Muslim Countries: Profiles in Contrast (Brookings Press).


Amber Fares

Co-Producer & Cinematographer

AMBER FARES is an award-winning documentary director and cinematographer. Her feature length directorial debut Speed Sisters premiered at Hot Docs in 2015, where it was one of the top 20 Audience Choice Awards. Speed Sisters has played in over 70 film festivals around the world, including Sheffield, Melbourne, CPH:Dox and Doc NYC. It won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Irish Film Institute Doc Festival, the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Adelaide Film Festival, Vail Film Festival and the Youth Jury and Broadcast Awards at CMCA PriMed. Amber’s continually expanding storytelling approach is driven by the belief that personal stories can best help connect audiences to important topics and issues. She has worked with organizations like ACLU, UNICEF, UNRWA, Defense for Children International and Amnesty International. Amber was a 2014 Sundance Institute Edit and Story Lab Fellow.


Sara Maamouri

Co-Producer & Editor

SARA MAAMOURI is a Tunisian-born documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco for over a decade. Her projects include ITVS-LINCS awardee, The Music’s Gonna Get You Through (2010), and the Cyprus documentary In This Waiting (2011), a feature length film which premiered at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, the short documentary Amal’s Garden (2012), an official selection of Dubai International Film Festival, Cinema du Reel and Bird’s Eye View. Sara most recently edited Genomania, a feature-length documentary about genetic and biological determinism in the 20th century, and co- produced/ edited A Revolution in Four Seasons a feature-length documentary on Tunisia’s democratic future, which premiered at Hot Docs (2016). 

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Mark Lipson

Co-Producer & Post-Production Supervisor

MARK LIPSON attended NYU Film School and came to Los Angeles to pursue photography and film/television producing. He developed and associate produced the original Children of the Corn feature and produced Almost You, an indie-comedy for Fox Classics. In the mid-90’s he supervised three innovative documentary series for ITVS, including The United States of Poetry. Later, while shooting stills for David Byrne’s film True Stories, he met Errol Morris and went on to produce three of Errol’s films: the award winning The Thin Blue Line, then Fast Cheap and Out of Control and most recently, Tabloid. Mark has executive produced and post-supervised numerous independent features such as Standard Operating Procedure, Countdown to Zero, This Space Available, The Source Family Movie, Red Army and In Football We TrustHis current projects include Bogalusa Charm, #NoFilter, Larry Flynt for President, JoyBubbles and Belly of the Beast


Ken Schneider


KEN SCHNEIDER has edited over 35 feature-length documentaries, focusing on war and peace, human rights, artists’ lives, untold American histories, and contemporary social issues. Ken co-edited the Oscar-nominated Regret To Inform. His films have screened on PBS’ American Masters, POV, Independent Lens, Frontline, on HBO, and in television and film festivals worldwide. Other projects includes: Have You Heard From Johannesburg (Emmy winning series); The Good War and Those Who Refused To Fight It; El Poeta; Orozco: Man of Fire; Ralph Ellison: An American Journey; Store Wars; School Colors; Bolinao 52; Ancestors in the Americas and Speaking in Tongues.  Ken’s editing can be viewed on kenschneidereditor.net. Ken lectures at NYU, Harvard, San Francisco City College, the SF Art Institute, and Chapman University.


Omar Fadal


OMAR FADEL’S work can be heard in numerous films, television shows and video games, namely the global game franchise Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, The Dictator, and the Oscar nominated film, Day One. Born in Houston, and raised between Texas and Dubai, Omar’s global exposure is heard throughout his music. Omar composed the score to the award-winning feature film, The Taqwacores (Sundance 2010) and the critically acclaimed Lionsgate documentary, Just Like Us. In 2011, Omar was selected to score the first ever Arabic language, American studio feature film, The United, produced by Walt Disney Motion Pictures. He also scored the award- winning documentary, In Search of Oil and Sand. In 2013, the Sundance Institute awarded Omar a prestigious Fellowship at their Film Music Composer’s Lab. Omar works in his state of the art studio, Fly the Coop Studios, in mid-city Los Angeles. 


Nicole Docta

Associate Producer

NICOLE DOCTA has focused her career on socially active projects with subjects ranging from memory loss in A King In Milwaukee (2009) to locally sourcing food on the Wisconsin Foodie series and economic stability as the Co-Producer on the Emmy-nominated feature documentary As Goes Janesville (Milwaukee International Film Festival 2012), which aired on PBS' Independent Lens series. Nicole is now based out of Salt Lake City where she was the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the Emmy award-winning In Football We Trust (Sundance 2015), which tells how the Polynesian community uses football as a way out of gangs and poverty. She most recently Associate Produced The Judge which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017.

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Heidi Nel

Impact Producer

HEIDI NEL is a social impact producer using stories, art, film, and technology to make the world a better place. A media expert, Nel helps harness the power of great storytelling to engage the public and catalyze change. With over a decade of experience at the intersection of film and policy, she has worked on multiple award-winning films, and helped move the needle on civil rights issues such as, sexual assault, criminal justice, and immigration. As a Principal at The Raben Group, Nel leads the firm’s Social Impact Entertainment practice area. She is an adjunct instructor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, where she co-teaches “Driving Social Impact Through Film,” and a partner of the Truman National Security Project. A native of South Africa, Nel grew up in Colorado, graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and resides in Alexandria, VA.