Sameh Zoabi was born and raised in Iksal, a Palestinian village near the city of Nazareth. He graduated from Tel Aviv University with a dual degree in Film Studies and English Literature. Zoabi then received a Fulbright Fellowship to study Filmmaking at Columbia University, earning an M.F.A. in 2005.
Zoabi’s work has been shown in many international film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, Sundance, Karlovy Vary, and New York Film Festival. A selection of Zoabi’s notable work includes a short film titled Be Quiet (2005) for which received a prize at the Cannes Film Festival—Cinefondation Selection. His feature film debut, Man Without a Cell Phone (2010), won several audience awards as well as the Golden Antigone at the 2011 Montpellier Film Festival. Most recently, Zoabi wrote the original script of The Idol (2015), directed by Hany Abu Assad, which had its premier at the Toronto International Film Festival.