Captain Abu Raed Brings Jordan to VIFF

Captain Abu Raed is a tragic loving tale of an elderly man, Abu Raed (Nadim Sawalha), who comes across a discarded airline captain's hat and is mistaken for a pilot by one of the local boys. At the persistence of the local children, he finds himself fabricating glorious tales of travel to foreign lands.

All is well until one of the older kids in the village outs him as the airport janitor.

The village unfolds its own stories of longing and desperation as Abu Raed finds himself struggling to improve the lives of the local children.

Director Amin Mutalqa met Sawalha when he was a budding filmmaker and vowed to put him in a leading role. Sawalha had been really kind to him and he never forgot that.

“You may recall Sawalha as one of the villains in the film Son of the Pink Panther. He was always being cast in supporting roles as the bad guy. I wanted to change that” said Mutalqa.

“Sawalha was the only professional film actor cast. The others were stage actors, TV personalities, or kids from Palestinian refugee camps. We've tried to help some of the kids from the camps after the film was made. The boy who plays Murad (Huusein Al-Sous) is studying the arts, and the boy who played Tareq (Udey Al-Qiddissi) is studying English and Education.”

“When we filmed that last week of scenes in a town called Salt, a gang of hoodlums caused us a lot of trouble. They were throwing stones, etc. Then the Prince heard about our project and showed up with 20 of his guards and everyone became friends” said Mutalqa.

“This is my 42th time watching this film with an audience and I still love to hear the reactions.”

With two million from private investors and only 23days to shoot, Mutalqa created a masterpiece, and helped legitimatize the Jordanian film industry.

Captain Abu Raed is the first film from Jordan since the seventies and Jordan's entry for the Oscars for 2009.

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