Award winning Jordanian feature film CAPTAIN ABU RAED was awarded two top honors yesterday at the 4th Traverse City Film Festival, garnering the Audience Award – Best Fiction Film and Best of Fest – Fiction Film.
Fimmaker and writer Amin Matalqa said, “From the beginning, I wanted Captain Abu Raed to be a Jordanian film for American audiences as much as anything else. I was blown away by the way it was received here in the Midwest. Experiencing it in Traverse City with 1000 people laughing and crying, I am confident that we will see this film reach a wide release in the US one day soon.”
Emmy award winning executive producer David Pritchard (The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy), producer of Captain Abu Raed and President of Gigapix Studios said:
“While the traditional Hollywood mindset is that American audiences are not generally receptive to foreign language films, the reaction of the audiences at Traverse City is in stark contrast to that thinking. I believe American audiences want to see great films in theaters, and Captain Abu Raed is delivering that kind of exceptional audience experience. I really appreciate the support given this film by the Traverse City Film Festival, and in particular I want to thank Michael Moore. I would encourage any serious film fan to attend this festival, it was an exceptional experience with a disproportionate number of truly great films. Captain Abu Raed is in very rare territory getting these awards.”
Captain Abu Raed, a universal story of of dreams, friendship, forgiveness and sacrifice is the first independent film to come out of Jordan in the last 50 years. This heartwarming drama has already proven to be a festival favorite as it continues to charm audiences while garnering prestigious awards at each festival it screens at starting with Best Actor Award (Nadim Sawalha) at the 2007 Dubai International Film Festival.
The film went on to win the Dramatic World Cinema Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Best Actor (Nadim Sawalha) and Best Actress (Rana Sultan) Awards at the 2008 Newport Beach Film Festival, Best Director Golden Space Needle Award (Amin Matalqa) at the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature World Cinema at the 2008 Maui Film Festival and Best First Feature at the 2008 Durban International Film Festival.
With contemporary Jordan as the backdrop, first time filmmaker / writer Amin Matalqa, a 31 year old AFI graduate and Jordanian immigrant, tells a powerful gripping story of the ordinary people we meet along life’s path who change our destiny.
Abu Raed (Nadim Sawalha) an elderly widowed airport janitor at Amman’s International Airport has always dreamed of seeing the world, but he has only experienced it vicariously through books and brief encounters with travelers.
Finding a discarded airline Captain’s hat in the trash at work one day, Abu Raed is followed home one day by Tareq (Udey Al-Qiddissi) a young precocious neighborhood boy who thinks he is an airline pilot. The following day, Tareq shows up at Abu Raed’s door with a group of his friends from the impoverished neighborhood asking Abu Raed to share his adventures with them from his travels around the world.
As their relationships deepen, Abu Raed discovers the grim realities of their lives and tries to make a difference. Happy for the company and attention, Abu Raed takes the children to colorful places around the world through his fictional stories and inspires them to believe in their own abilities.
Captain Abu Raed captures breathtaking footage of Amman and especially of East Amman, where the first settlers of the Capital gave life to the city.
The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable, educational, nonprofit organization committed to showing “Just Great Movies” and helping to save one of America’s few indigenous art forms — the cinema. The festival also owns and operates a year-round, community-based, mission driven art house movie theater, the State Theatre.
Founded by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore and co-founders local photographer John Robert Williams and New York Times best-selling author Doug Stanton, with filmmakers Larry Charles and Terry George rounding out the Board of Directors, the festival brings films and filmmakers from around the world to northern Michigan.
Director/Screenwriter: Amin Matalqa
Cast: Nadim Sawalha, Hussein Al-Sous, Rana Sultan,
Udey Al-Qiddissi, Ghandi Saber, Dina Raad-Yaghnam
Cinematographer: Reinhart Peschke
Editor: Laith Majali
Executive Producer: David Pritchard, Isam Salfiti, Aida Jabaji Matalqa
Producer: Kenneth Kokin, David Pritchard, Amin Matalqa, Laith Majali, Nadine Toukan
Jordan 2007 – Running Time: 100 min.
Arabic with English subtitles