Coury Deeb is a filmmaker, storyteller, thrill-seeker, philanthropist, husband and father of three. Above all, Coury is a faith-filled believer in Hope. His undying optimism — which often clouds his ability to detect peril — and his need for adventure have led him into some of the worlds’ most dangerous places. What he has brought back from each place, what sets Coury apart, are the stories of others’ optimism and peril. These individuals’ stories of tragedy and triumph along with Coury’s fierce determination to help those he has met along the way make Coury’s life a mirror for those listening.
The Philly and Photography Effect
At the formative age of 18, Coury Deeb left his home of Louisville, Kentucky to join a small group of socially minded young people to experience life of poverty, social injustice, and the transformative power of community in North Philadelphia. Given only $6 a day to live on, Coury, along with five other housemates, moved into a dilapidated brownstone in Philly and made the ghetto their home for one year. Living and working in an economically depressed environment, he quickly learned that he not only had a knack for survival, he thrived in a community that was devoted to something greater than his own welfare.
Philadelphia’s murder rate at the time was well over national averages, with most of those violent crimes occurring close to Coury’s home. Gun shots, helicopters and sirens were a daily part of the sound landscape on 20th Street, yet the community Coury had made there inspired him—at just 19— to purchase the three-story brownstone. Five years later, Coury returned to Philly with his wife Anne and spent two years renovating the house into prime property. Ultimately, it was the challenge and the cause to advocate for those incapable of advocating for themselves that ignited a passion in Coury that extends into all aspects of his life.
While living in Philadelphia, Coury began using his creative skills and natural entrepreneurship professionally. He parlayed his natural ability for finding beauty among the broken into a successful photography business.
Nadus is Born
In 2005, Coury, along with a small cohort from his neighborhood church, traveled to southern Sudan to support a partnering village through the trials of civil war. Coury left Sudan with images, both still and moving, of his new friends and a desire to tell their story.
Coury immediately understood the larger need to tell others about what was happening in Sudan. Upon returning to the states, the vision for a making a documentary came into clear focus. Coury founded the non-profit Nadus Films, raised the needed funds, and strategically began the process of making a movie. Despite the multitude of obstacles, the desire for giving a voice to the voiceless drove Coury onward. Eight years later, Nadus Films has successfully filmed three feature-length films.
Each film has inspired initiatives that have given back to the communities who made the films possible, proving that Nadus Films truly makes films that make a difference. The organization has met many needs by raising awareness and funds to drill wells, provide medical supplies, and meet the educational needs of the subjects of its films.
Through each of the three films’ productions, Coury has encountered more life-threatening situations than his wife would like to recall. It’s not the thrill for thrill’s sake that pushes Coury into tenuous circumstances. It’s the story he gets to tell after surviving it. Beyond that, even, it’s the satisfaction that he will bring hope to an environment and to a people in desperate need of redemption.
His friends wonder if he leaves reason behind when packing for his quests into war-torn, gang-infested, and politically unstable countries. Arrested, detained, and barricaded in deserted areas swarming with scorpions, Coury seems detached from the perils of the life he has chosen, as if he is immune to hazards of all kinds. Coury simply sees it all with an eternal perspective, enjoying the odyssey of it all.
Traveling throughout Africa, the Indian Sub-Continent, Central America, and even Cuba, Coury’s smuggles stories of danger, romance, and upheaval across the borders. Tales of culinary feats are some of Coury’s favorites to share. Intestine soup, intestine tacos and the occasional cow-hoof soup season his stories of dining with gang-bangers and spear-chucking with child-soldiers.
Some may view his actions as irresponsible, yet there isn’t anyone who would deny that the life Coury leads is note-worthy. Would that we all risk what he risks for the pursuit of dreams. Coury’s life is truly a life well-lived. Over a decade, multiple continents, and many dangers, Coury has collected stories that need telling. He also has a challenge, a charge even, for others who might want to risk it all to live a life worthy of a great story.
Coury has a message to share and a unique perspective on life that draws people to him. Just like his film making pursuits, Coury encourages the viewers to not stop at pressing play. His films are not for awareness only. His stories demand adventure, activism, and altruism.
Don’t know how to make your vision a reality? Coury has some practical suggestions for turning dreams into reality. He can speak in detail about how to cast your visions to others, gather a team of board members, and most importantly how to make the “big ask.”
Don’t have a vision? Coury can help you develop one. His stories alone beg his listeners to ask themselves for what end are they are living. His films are a great starting place for identify those who need your unique abilities!
Coury speaks on a variety of themes including:
- Missional living
- Using your gifts to serve
- Completing a project
- Cross-cultural experiences
- Social justice
Coury enjoys engaging the attention of a variety of audiences as well, including:
- College campuses
- Socially-conscience groups
- Missionally-minded organizations or private groups
- Audience Choice Aware at CATE Santa Barbara Film Festival - for BBOY for LIFE
- Best Feature DOC (2nd place) at DOC at ReelHeart Film Festival - The New Sudan
- Honorary Mention at NYC Film Festival - BBOY for LIFE
- Best Director for feature DOC - Cincinnatti Film Festival