Thursday, March 27, 2008

Captain Abu Raed closing Newport Beach Film Festival

If you're in Los Angeles or Orange County, mark your calendar for May 1st, 2008:
Sundance Champ "Captain Abu Raed" to Close Newport Fest

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Irbid Refugee Camp

As I was cleaning up my computer, I came across these pictures I took from April 2007, when Nadine, Ken, and I took a journey to find Udey Qiddissi, who played Tareq in Captain Abu Raed. It was a most fascinating experience as it was my first time going to a refugee camp. Seeing the simplicity and the joy from the simple pleasures on the kids's faces, playing marbles or soccer in the alleys of the Irbid refugee camp. They have very little and live on next to nothing, yet they don't complain.

Click on any photo to enlarge:

And finally, we found Udey.

Clash of the Titans

Thursday, March 20, 2008

AFI Showcase April 9

If you're in Los Angeles on April 9th and would like to see my crazy AFI black comedy thesis film, "Morning Latte", about the devil in a coffee shop, then come to the Archlight Theater in Hollywood at 7:30 for a fun night of short films. AFI thesis films will be screening from April 7th to the 10th. My film is on the 9th. Here's a link to the trailer for the series:
My film is the one with the Samurai Sword and the Devil.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Captain Abu Raed World Screenings

Captain Abu Raed will be playing in the following cities:

Hong Kong at the Hong Kong International Film Market this week

Dallas, Texas at the AFI Dallas International Film Festival (March 28, 30 & April 1)

Sonoma International Film Festival in California (April 11, 13)

Istanbul International Film Festival in Turkey (April 6, 9, 16)

Newport Beach Film Festival (May 1st)

Seattle International Film Festival in May & June (more to come)

Cannes International Film Market in May (more to come)

Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York (June 7 & 8th)

Middle East Theatrical release: Also, look for a commercial theatrical release in the rest of the Middle East beyond Jordan in May right after Cannes.

More details on additional screenings to come.
In addition to the above, the film has now played in Jordan, Dubai, London, Sundance (Utah), Miami, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Quite exciting!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Going International and Toronto feedback

Now that it's public news... Captain Abu Raed is officially going international.

"Fortissimo Flies with Captain"

We'll keep you posted on more news as Captain Abu Raed lands in a country near you.

In the meantime, here's the amazing feedback we got from the 1000 person screening in Toronto, Canada on Sunday:

According to Jane Schoettle, INternational programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival programmer:

"...the film recieved the HIGHEST EVER approval rating from our audience. The audience loved seeing a film from Jordan and the entire experience, and many were profoundly moved by the film. This is a tough, smart crowd, hard to win over--but CAPTAIN ABU RAED did it!"

In addition, here were specific comments that they sent back to us from audience members:

How exciting to see a film that shows so many different sides of a country unfamiliar to us.

Excellent film. Wonderful Film.

Great film, brilliant acting, beautifully shot.

Wonderful film. Great cinematography, lovely music. (I should have recognized John Williams but didn’t expect him as the composer). Great acting all around. Balanced overview of Jordanian classes & society,

This was a beautiful film – it certainly didn’t end the way I expected from how it began. In a way, it was two films within one –but without the relationship he develops with the children, it would not have been able to give the same impact for the second half. I’m SO glad I was able to see this film!

This film had everything – touching story, beautiful cinematography, great score – what real cinema is all about.

I enjoyed every second of this film. I could watch it again - straight away. And what wonderful surprised at the end with the Jordanian guests. Added to the magic of the film experience.

This was just a fantastic and beautiful Film. Breathtaking – the scenery, the simplicity and the emotionality. I’m speechless and heartbroken. Bravo.

I love seeing a film that was by a Jordanian filmed in Amman and with Jordanian actors. We really need to see more of this – for us or to enlarge our perspective, our viewing eyes. Something that comes from within - not something that looks at from without (ie. North American). I loved the children in this film! I also loved the camera work – the respect it gave the characters and the character of the city – beautiful.

Wonderful development of characters. Visually interesting.

Extraordinary film! Subtle, humanistic, psychologically sounds and realistic; a fine touching story, beautifully acted with many subtle cinematic touches – very authentic and convincing – the best film of the season!!

Wonderful film, beautiful acting.

Enjoyed all aspects of the film, beautiful, poignant, revealing – loved the actors.

Rena Suftan as Nour gives a wonderful performance.

An arresting film offering a dismal perspective on Jordanian fatherhood and its outcomes.

Very polished film. Central character father figure, who successfully grounded plot. Relationship with kids did feel reminiscent of Truffault understated kids’ performances were credible and moving. Altogether an emotionally real experience that could be situated in Europe in an immigrant community or in Middle East. Ending a little to pat but still, terrific film. Pace, music and acting so wonderful. Kudos to director.

Outstanding, moving, profound.

Nice to see a film from a country that I’ve never seen before. Interesting to see into Jordanian culture.

Great acting. Wonderful photography and music.

What a wonderful, heart-warming story. Beautiful cinematography! Children were amazing – social/real-life situations. Bravo! Great choice!

Amazing and moving. Perfect for the 100th anniversary (almost, less a day) of International Women’s Day.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Captain Abu Raed in more US cities

(pictures from the premier in Jordan, Feb. 5, 2008. Her Majesty Queen Rania attended the premier along with over 500 people that amazing night.)

More screenings coming your way. While the film is still going strong after six weeks of playing in Jordan, Captain Abu Raed continues it's tour around the festival circuit abroad. Having now played at Sundance in Utah, in Dubai, Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto, and London we're excited that the movie is getting very strong emotional responses across

Look for the film at:

AFI Dallas International Film Festival at the end of March

Seattle International Film Festival: End of May till Mid June

New York: Brooklyn Academy of Music screenings in June

There will also be upcoming screenings in Northern California and Orange County as well as Europe and of course a theatrical release in other Arab countries in the next couple of months.

See keep checking the blog for updates on information when Captain Abu Raed will be screening near you.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Captain Abu Raed in Toronto this Sunday

If you're in Toronto, Canada and would like to see Captain Abu Raed, please send me an email to and I will forward you details for a big screening this Sunday March 9th.

Monday, March 03, 2008

To my Ohio friends: VOTE OBAMA!

To all my friends back in Ohio, this is the moment where you can make a difference. It's time for us to have a president who comes from the outside. Not another politician. It's time for us to have a leader who is not hungry for war. Someone who can fix things through honest diplomacy. I truly have never felt so strongly about a president. If there's anyone who can fix the mess that George Bush and his idiots have done in the world, it's Barak Obama. Tomorrow is the big day in Ohio and Texas. Please go out there and make a difference. If we get Hillary Clinton, we're going to be hearing the same song and dance all over again.

At the end of the day it all comes down to one thing. Look in their eyes. Look at Hillary Clinton's eyes, then look at Obama's eyes. What do they tell you? Set aside the politics and all the issues they're running on for a second and just think about what their eyes tell you.

For me personally, I look at Clinton and I see more wars, more death. I see us attacking Iran because she wants to prove that she can run the country with an iron fist like another man. I see her continuing to blindly support Israel for the horrendous treatment of the Palestinian people. I see her continuing to run America's ideals of world-leadership into the ground. Then I look at Obama and I see a man who genuinely wants to repair the damage that has been done both inside the US and across the globe. I see a man who wants to create new alliances around the world. A man who will be the first dignified US president in a long long time.

America is in really bad shape inside and outside. Now more than ever, the people can make a difference. Don't vote for Hillary Clinton and hope for the best. This is the chance to fix things. VOTE for Obama!