Jalal Maghout, 2021

born 1987 in Damascus, Syria


Jalal Maghout (born 1987) is an independent film-maker from Syria. He began his cinematic career in 2010 after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in visual communication from Damascus University.

His short animation films have been screened at festivals around the world. While his short film Canvas on Mixed Media (2012) garnered public attention, it was his ‘animadoc’ Suleima (2014) that ultimately qualified for the international competitions hosted by the world’s major animation film festivals.

Alongside his work as an animator, Jalal Maghout has also gained experience with music videos and as a cartoonist, caricaturist, and painter. Maghout has also sat on the juries of such international film festivals as Stuttgart and Annecy and has led animation workshops for children in Berlin in 2014 and 2015.

He graduated with a Master’s degree in animation directing from the Babelsberg Film University in 2019 with his film Have a Nice Dog!

Competitions contribution

Have a Nice Dog!, 2021

Link to Trailer


Awards of Have a Nice Dog! (Selection)
ZF Short Film Award
Jury statement

Jury statement for Have a Nice Dog! – ‘Now or Never’ Filmtage Friedrichshafen – Online, yet still up close, from 23 to 25 September 2021.

Statement by the festival jury:
Anke Sterneborg (freelance journalist for rbb-Kulturradio, ZEITonline, epd Film, among others), Daniel Ebner (director and founder of the international short-film festival ‘Vienna Shorts’, Vienna. Co-founder of the Association of Austrian Film Festivals, film and art curator) and Marcus H. Rosenmüller (film director and author of such box-office hits as Wer früher stirbt, ist länger tot [Grave Decisions], Sommer in Orange [My Life in Orange], Trautmann [The Keeper]).

Official jury statement of 24 September 2021:

The ZF Jury Prize goes to Have a Nice Dog! by Jalal Maghout

We were overwhelmed by Have a Nice Dog! by Jalal Maghout, in terms of both content and style. The film tells of the oppressive everyday life in a city destroyed by war, of flight and expulsion, of the loss of one’s homeland and, consequently, of oneself, too. As viewers, we were immediately drawn into the nightmarishly distorted world experienced by a man who had become lonely and isolated. His feelings of despair, fear and depression are conveyed sensually and with immediacy. By the same token, the film invites us to decipher its multi-layered secrets, enigmas and metaphors. With his idiosyncratic and original animation, Jalal Maghout creates a world that is highly personal in its artistic elaboration yet universally recognisable, at a time when millions of people are compelled to flee their homeland. And while the film is merely thirteen minutes long, its haunting images inspire reflection likely to linger for a long time to come.