Omar Al-Qattan was born in Beirut and moved to the UK at the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War. Following a degree in English literature from Oxford University, he studied film directing at the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacles (INSAS) in Brussels.
His first film, Dreams & Silence, an early exploration of political Islam, won the 1991 Joris Ivens Award. In 1994, he produced Michel Khleifi’s Tale of the Three Jewels, shot entirely in the Occupied Gaza Strip. The film premiered at Cannes and won a host of international awards. He has since worked on numerous films, most recently producing Khleifi’s Zindeeq (2009 Muhr Award for Best Arab Feature, Dubai Film Festival).
In 1999, Al-Qattan launched the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s cultural track, including the Palestinian Audio-visual Programme. The Foundation also runs a children’s library and cultural centre in Gaza City and a centre for educational research and development focused on Palestinian school teachers.
In 2008, he established The Mosaic Rooms in London, a cultural space focussed on the Arab World. He is also Chair of the 2013 Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture in London. He has been a member of the Welfare Association since 1999, in which he heads the Palestinian Museum Task force.
In addition, Al-Qattan is a non-executive director of Al-Hani Construction and Trading Company in Kuwait, a leader in the construction of large-scale public projects such as the recently completed Kuwait National Library.
He has contributed to a number of English and Arabic language publications, such as the New Statesman, Vertigo, OpenDemocracy, CounterPunch, Al Hayat and Al Quds al Arabi, as well as co-editing bi-lingual publications including New Horizons in Palestinian Art and Hope & the Aesthetic Moment, both catalogues of work by young Palestinian artists. He also contributed chapters to two books: Dreams of a Nation (on Palestinian cinema) and Nakba: Palestine, 1948 and the Claims of Memory.