Born in Beirut in 1961, he studied graphic design in the UK and worked as a freelance illustrator in London for many years before moving on to directing. He started out as a director of commercials, then wrote and directed a number of distinguished short films, such as Beyrouth, les Barbiers de cette Ville (1998), Mabrouk Again! (1999) and Du Poil de la Bête (2001). In 2004, he directed Beyrouth After Shave, which won the César for the Best Short Film in 2006. After this achievement, Hany Tamba was then able to direct his first feature film, Melodrama Habibi.