Oscar-nominated Jordanian receives Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year Award at MEIFF 2008
Jordan’s first Oscar-nominee in the history of the world famous Academy Awards - Director Amin Matalqa - will be honoured with the Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year Award during the Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) 2008, being held in Abu Dhabi from 10 -19 October and organized by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).
Presented in conjunction with MEIFF and the USA’s Variety magazine, the premier global source of entertainment and film news, Matalqa will receive his award at a private reception at the Emirates Palace on Tuesday 14th October.
At the age of 30, Matalqa’s first feature film, Captain Abu Raed has achieved international acclaim scooping several awards at global film festivals throughout 2008.
Written and directed by Matalqa, Captain Abu Raed won the ‘Audience Award for World Cinema – Dramatic’ at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent cinema festival in the USA and the premier international showcase for independent filmmakers. Captain Abu Raed was also nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
The acclaimed film has also won the ‘Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director’ at Seattle’s International Film Festival; ‘Best Feature Film’ at South Africa’s Durban International Film Festival; ‘Best Feature - World Cinema’ at Hawaii’s Maui Film Festival and both the ‘Audience Award’ and ‘Best of the Fest’ at renowned independent filmmaker Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival in the States.
Additionally the film has also won numerous awards for Best Actor (Nadim Sawalha) and Best Actress (Rana Sultan).
“Amin Matalqa was a natural choice for us as for the recipient of this year’s Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year award,” said Nashwa Al Ruwaini, Director of MEIFF.
“With the global success of his first feature film, Matalqa has injected fresh energy into the Middle Eastern film scene, and is an ideal role model for the region’s aspiring young filmmakers. His film, Captain Abu Raed, is the first Jordanian film to be nominated for an Oscar and we wholeheartedly wish him good luck for the race.”
Captain Abu Raed has been selected for entry into the 81st Annual Academy Awards for ‘Best Foreign Film’, with results being announced in February 2009.
The film focuses on the plight of an old airport janitor in Amman, who has always yearned to see the world but has never been able to afford to travel. One day a group of children in his poor neighborhood assume he is a pilot and beg him to share stories of the outside world. Through imaginary tales a friendship forms and he discovers the grim realities of the children's home life, taking it upon himself to make a difference.
Born in 1976 Amin Matalqa grew up in Jordan until age 13, and in 1989 emigrated with his family to Ohio, USA. With a burning passion to become a filmmaker from a very young age, Matalqa concluded a five-year career selling technology solutions to corporate America in 2003 to move to Los Angeles and fulfill his childhood dreams of making movies.
Matalqa has completed 25 short films and has an MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute and is currently residing in Los Angeles.
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