Thursday, June 26, 2008

Showtimes in Dubai and rest of UAE...

When I was a kid I would study the cinema page in the newspaper. I would see every movie playing in the theater. I would cut out the posters from the Sunday edition of the New York Times and keep them in a folder. I was obsessed with movies. Now, of course we look online for showtimes. So imagine the special feeling I got tonight when I clicked on the Grand Cinemas and saw that my film is playing at multiple multiplexes across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the UAE right next to Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, and all those films. Of course the film played in Jordan and in festivals around the world, but there's something different here. I don't know what it is, but I love the feeling.

GRAND CINEMAS CLICK HERE for showtimes in cinemas.

Mall of Emirates CLICK HERE

My Obsession with Charlie Chaplin...

I got to enter the gates of a supremely special place yesterday, Charlie Chaplin's studio, which is now the Jim Henson company (Muppet Show). First of all, I am haunted by the ghost of Charlie Chaplin. Every year, I become more obsessed with this man's genius and brilliance. Almost every one of his films is a masterpiece. City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, The Circus... etc. Chaplin Wrote, Directed, Produced, Composed Music, Edited, and of course Acted in almost every one of his films. He was obsessed with his art and has left a legacy that has made him timeless and immortal.

I grew up watching his shorts on TV in Jordan back in the mid 80's. I remember sitting eating zeit u za3tar in the kitchen and watching them on the small TV alone at night and being strangely haunted by the blend of sadness and comedy with the stories of the tramp.

Jump to 20 years later, I wrote my first film, Captain Abu Raed at the Starbucks just across the street from Chaplin Studios on La Brea. This place was built in 1917. And I just finished writing my next script from the same place. I feel like the magic of Chaplin glows over this neighborhood. Sometimes I go walking down the street and wish I could jump back in time to the old Hollywood of the 1920's and 30's. And I always walked just down the street from my apartment past the gates of Chaplin Studios wishing I could just go past the gates to see what it's like inside. But the guards would never allow me in.

Finally yesterday Austin my composer had a trip to visit a recording studio there where he will score a horror film. So we went in, and suddenly standing in his cemented footsteps, I was transported back in time. I was standing in Charlie's studio where he made all his great pictures. Oh what a magical moment that was!

I get so much inspiration from this brilliant genius. If you're not familiar with his films, I highly recommend starting with City Lights. Then you'll be hooked.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Captain Abu Raed wins at Maui Film Festival

Once again, with another wonderful goal, Captain Abu Raed wins Best Narrative Feature - World Cinema at the Maui Film Festival. CLICK FOR PRESS RELEASE.

One year ago today, we wrapped production on our special Jordanian film. And now we are seeing the seeds of everybody's hard work pay off. I am so thankful to everyone at every festival who has voted for Abu Raed. It is still an absolute thrill! After sitting with audiences for over 30 screenings, to this day I love watching the movie because I hear audiences react and get engaged into the world of this movie with both laughter and tears. It's the most powerful feeling in the world. That a film, something that was at one time just a pile of papers bound together, is now gaining momentum as a representative of Jordan to the rest of the world. I am absolutely thrilled. Next stops: Scotland, then Japan, South Africa, and Jerusalem.

Of course, don't forget to tell your friends, Captain Abu Raed is opening across the Emirates on June 26.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Win tickets to UAE Captain Abu Raed Premier

Win tickets to the premier of Captain Abu Raed in the United Arab Emirates on June 24, opening in theaters across the country on June 26 along with tickets to Jordan and more surprises.

Click Here for the link to the contest.

Tell your friends and family to go see it in the cinema. It will not be available on DVD until it's toured the world.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Winner - Best Director, Seattle International Film Festival

What a wonderful surprise to get the news today that I won Best Director at the Seattle International Film Festival! This just gets better and better. I just got back from Maui last night where we had a great audience. The word continues to spread about this little Jordanian film that could.

HERE'S THE LINK for the announcement about Captain Abu Raed winning.

This makes this the fifth Award for Captain Abu Raed after winning:

Sundance Audience Award - World Cinema
Dubai International Film Festival - Best Actor
Newport Beach Film Festival - Best Actor
Newport Beach Film Festival - Best Actress

Mabrook to everyone who helped make this film. It is a reflection of everyone's passion to deliver this labor of love.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spirit of the Cosmos - Music by Austin Wintory

If you enjoy big orchestral music and film scores, then you're in for a treat. From Austin Wintory, composer of Captain Abu Raed, you can finally download his rich orchestral album, Spirit of the Cosmos.

Either click on THIS LINK

Or just go to itunes and type in Austin Wintory to listen to this album which he composed and conducted the performance by the Utah Symphony Orchestra a few years back.

A new short - "A Time Square Moment"

I haven't shot anything in a year. It's fun to make little shorts and sketches. We were walking in New York Time Square and decided to make a short film with my little digital still camera. It's 38 seconds long. Here's...


Starring Claire Naber & Mutaz Qubbaj
Directed by Amin Matalqa

Monday, June 09, 2008

June 26 - Abu Raed in Cinemas across the United Arab Emirates

On June 26, Captain Abu Raed opens in cinemas across the United Arab Emirates. From Dubai to Abu Dhabi, check your local listings for cinemas featuring Captain Abu Raed.

Coming to cinemas across the Middle East shortly thereafter.

Tell your friends!
Tell your neighbors!
Abu Raed is coming to town!

Not available on DVD.