Thursday, March 29, 2007

Captain Abu Raed Web Site

Hello everyone,

I am happy to announce to you
The site is brand new, so more features and functions will be added in the coming days, but for now, you can see pictures from our location scout, you can download the script in English and Arabic, meet the crew, and follow the blog.

Extra special thanks to Advize Grey for the design of the web site and Gigapix Studios for programming.

Tell your friends to tune in and bookmark the site to join us on the journey of making this special Jordanian film.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bye Bye AFI

It feels surreal. Like a dream. Somebody pinch me. Today is my last day with my fellow brothers and sisters at AFI. Also today is our master class with Al Pacino. We can learn a thing or two about acting from him. Tomorrow I head to Jordan for three months to make my first feature film.

I'm both sad and excited. Sad because these two years have been so special and I will never have them again. We made 90 movies together in the first year. Dissected them, analyzed them, hated each other for criticizing the shit out of them, and supported each other to make our movies. And this year has been a similar process on the preperation of each team's thesis film. Breaking down every beat of each script, discussing the visual approach, production design, emotional journey...etc.

So now I'm taking all that I've learned at this place and packing it in a place down in my subconscious as I prepare to shoot Captain Abu Raed. I will be keeping a blog on the making of the movie on the new web site for the movie.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Captain Abu Raed update

So I'm getting ready to head to Amman at the end of the month to start prepping for Captain Abu Raed. I can't believe we're this close to finally making this movie. We've been doing a lot of prep work between LA, Morocco, and Jordan.

Here in LA, I've gone through the script with Ray, my cinematographer, designing the visual concepts of the film. This includes camera moves and angles, color temperatures, and lens choices to tell the story. This discussion also extends to Gerry Sullivan, our production designer. We'll be walking through all our locations discovering the possibilities once we get to Amman. One of the fun things I would like to share is that the original title of the movie when I first wrote it was "Under the Tree, Over the Ocean". Yes, it was quite cheesy! The story had Abu Raed telling the neighborhood kids stories while sitting in the shade of a tree. Well, in December 2005, Laith and I spent a day scouting locations, looking for a place that could look good for Abu Raed's apartment. We found ourselves on top of the citadel hill. And there they were, the six columns of the citadel screaming at me, "Look look, I'm the location you've been looking for!!!". And so I took out the tree, and set Abu Raed's stories under the columns. Much more epic and appropriate for the adventures he will share with the kids. And of course, that left me with no choice but to change my cheesy title.

Just the same, when I was in Salt, seeing the beautiful long sets of stairs made me hungry to put the stairs in my story. To use the character of the city in the movie. So I went back to the script and wrote little moments such as "Abu Raed walks up the stairs..." and used the stairs as a metaphore for people connecting across boundaries. That's what the film is about.

So what I'm getting at is that it's a lot of fun to organically layer your story with elements from the environment where you will film it.

More on Abu Raed soon. I promise to keep updating my blog with new information. I don't want to jinx the movie with my excitement. So forgive me if I don't publicise too much detail yet.


I tend to be oblivious to some things sometimes. I just realized that I had a bunch of comments sitting in my bin since december waiting for me to publish/reject them. Sorry all who thought I was ignoring you. I just saw your comments.

About the airplane photo, it's actually a trick photo I took from my brother's apartment in Dubai. The airplane is a small model at the window sill. Haha. The trick was to use the sun to create some backlight.

Thanks Ghassan for your comments. I am quite optimistic. Good things on the way. I'll write a separate post to update everyone on what's happening with my movies.