Cairo honors the late Mustafa Al Akkad

Published December 1st, 2005 - 08:52 GMT

The Cairo International Film Festival will honor the late prominent Syrian director Mustafa Al Akkad, who was tragically murdered in the recent Jordan bombings. Mustafa’s name is part of the festival’s program among other great directors and producers whose works are recognized worldwide.


Head of the festival Sharif Al Shubashi revealed that Mustafa was very happy when he received the invitation to be honored the festival before his death.

Sharif assured that the family of the late director will attend the Cairo Festival.

Mustafa and his daughter were victims of the terrorist attacks in Jordan. 


Mustafa had come to Jordan from Syria, and his daughter from Lebanon to attend a wedding ceremony scheduled to take place on Friday November 12 in Aqaba.  The two were staying at one of the hotels that were attacked. The director was waiting in the lobby of the Hyatt Amman Hotel to greet his daughter, who entered at the same time the bombing took place and was killed instantly. 


Mustafa was born and raised in Aleppo, and studied Theatrical Arts at the University of California in Los Angeles. He began his career with MGM on the movie Ride the High Country, and then made his way to the CBS news department. Later he formed Akkad International Productions, his own venture to produce and direct feature films and documentaries.


In 1972, he founded Filmco International Production and used it to produce and direct his first blockbuster in the Arab world called al-Risallah (The Message). The movie was released in 1976 and received warm responses from Arab viewers, prompting him to produce an English version for release in the USA. It starred Anthony Quinn as Hamza, the uncle of Prophet Mohammed, and was one of the first feature films with leading stars to deal with the Muslim community and the beginning of Islam.


Mustafa went on to produce and direct his bestseller, Lion of the Desert in 1981, also staring Anthony Quinn. This movie covered the life and struggle of Libyan nationalist Omar al-Mukhtar, who led an armed revolt against the Italian occupation of Libya and who Benito Mussolini executed in 1932.


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