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.
Merzak Allouache, Algeria
Merzak Allouache's film career stretches back more than three decades, and his work is said to have reshaped Algerian cinema. He has undergone bouts of censorship and tight budgets, but is still at it. Last year, his film, Normal, about Algerian youth disillusionment (a still from the film is pictured), won the best Arab narrative film award at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. At this year's Cannes Film Festival, Allouache's latest creation, El Taaib (The Repentant) depicts a young Algerian terrorist's efforts to change.
(Photo: Film still by Al-Akhbar English)