Even as world headlines from the Middle East focus on upheaval and violence, the region's culture continues to thrive. Here's our look at some groups and individuals making their mark on arts and culture in the region, in no particular order.
Ahmad Abdalla, Egypt
Ahmad Abdalla is already an award-winning filmmaker at the forefront of Egypt's emerging independent film industry and he is still in his early 30s. From his first feature, Heliopolis, set in Cairo, he moved to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria for his 2010 film, Microphone, which, though fictional, has a documentary feel as it portrays the city's underground music scene. Here, a still from Microphone is pictured. Last year, he contributed a short film to the collaborative project, 18 Days, documenting the revolution.
(Photo: Picasa screen shot of "Microphone" )