Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Captain Abu Raed - Newport Beach & San Francisco

For those of you in Southern and Northern California, we are excited to share Captain Abu Raed with you at the following events:

May 1st - Newport Beach Film Festival - Captain Abu Raed is the Closing night film.
CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for the Film and the Gala.

May 8th - San Francisco - Arab Film Festival Special Benefit Event
CLICK HERE to Purchase tickets and for more info.

Also upcoming:
Mid-May, if you are in CANNES, look for special screenings of Captain Abu Raed at the CANNES FILM MARKET.

June 2nd and 4th - SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. More details to come in a future post.

June 7th and 8th - NEW YORK - Sundance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

I will be present at all of the above.

Most Influential

Well friends, Jordan Business has nominated it's Jordan Power List down to 200 people, and I am honored to be included as one of the influential people considered for the final round of 30 names in Jordan. That alone is an honor. If you would like to cast your vote for me, then CLICK HERE, and simply check next to my name (7th down on the influential list) and enter your email address at the bottom.

Thank you for your vote.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My boys

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Abu Raed does Turkey and Sonoma

If you are in Northern California, look for Captain Abu Raed on Friday April 11 and Sunday April 13th at noon at the Sonoma International Film Festival.

If you are in Istanbul, Turkey, there is still one more screening of Captain Abu Raed on April 16 at the Istanbul International Film Festival.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

For the few cynics in Jordan

The reception for Captain Abu Raed in Jordan has been tremendous and very encouraging as I plan to come back and make another film after I make my American film. I plan to continue coming back to Jordan because of our beautiful cast and the wonderful experience we had working together with a lovely crew.

Funny enough, with all the positive excitement, there were still a few individual cynical Jordanians who said I'm arrogant to claim to have made the first Jordanian film in 50 years and went into the film ready to attack it no matter what. So I'll take a minute here and set the record straight.

Captain Abu Raed IS the first Jordanian feature film in 50 years. A few people raised questions asking "What about Oriental Tale"? made in 1991. Oriental Tale was directed by Najdat Anzour, a well-known Syrian TV director (key word: Syrian), not a Jordanian, and it was funded by a FRENCH organization (key word: French). So I'm not sure how that makes it a Jordanian film. Adnan Mdanat, possibly the most bitter Jordanian I've met, can argue all he wants. He was especially bitter that Captain Abu Raed made it into Sundance. How much more regressive shall one get?

Captain Abu Raed was funded by Jordanians and directed by a Jordanian. I don't care about being the first and all that, but the facts are the facts. You can't argue with the facts.

So this takes us back to 1957, which is when "Struggle In Jerash" was made. And we've always recognized the significance of that film. If anything, I hope the attention Captain Abu Raed has brought to that film can bring it to a cinema somewhere so we can actually finally see it. I would love that.

And that's what I have to say about the history of Jordanian cinema. The fact that we spent a year raising the money for it in Jordan, the fact that we brought together all the people interested in a Jordanian film industry and formed Paper & Pen Films, the fact that the film was made, and that it's gone on to win the Audience Award at Sundance and continues to tour at other important festivals and has already been picked up by Fortissimo Films for International sales is something we're all very proud of. Most important for me is the effect the film has had on people. I've seen teenagers and old people both laugh and cry. And for me, that's the biggest accomplishment as a filmmaker.

It's time for those cynics to open their eyes and look at the big picture. We've set a new standard with Captain Abu Raed. This film will benefit your potential to make films for the cinema, so you can choose to attack it or you can embrace the concept of a Jordanian film industry. I look forward to seeing who will make the next Jordanian feature film and how the movie turns out.

I met a lot of talented and enthusiastic young Jordanians like Samer Nimri who I believe will do something very special in due time. People have to work together to nurture this new industry. For me, I'm not affected by the cynics because I don't live in Amman and our film has done really well and will keep spreading. I don't look down, but the petty attacks in Jo Magazine are funny to me. However, I know the importance of support, and if those new Jordanian filmmakers don't get local support when they make their films, they will be affected. So, you cynics, stop whining and do something positive. Work together. Change the way you think. Turn your negative energy into something positive. I promise you that it will feel really good. And if it's that difficult, then go hug someone and you'll feel better. I promise. Turn your hate into love and something special will take place. That's all I have for you. Peace out.