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.
Oday Rasheed, Iraq
As Iraq emerges from nearly a decade of war, filmmaker Oday Rasheed is committed to jump starting the local cinema scene. Rasheed's first feature film in 2005, Underexposure, was the first one made in the country after Saddam Hussein fell from power. In 2010, the director and screenwriter released his next feature, Qarantina, about a troubled family in gritty Baghdad. In addition to making his own films, he co-founded the Baghdad Film Production Center with Mohamed al-Daradji in 2010.