Abu-Assad tells the story of the Arab Idol
by Vitor Pinto
- The new film by the two-time Oscar-nominee director is focused on Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf
For the first time the production branch of Dutch distributor September Film is joining efforts with local fellow company KeyFilm to coproduce Hany Abu-Assad’s new feature Arab Idol [+see also:
film profile]. Principal photography has just begun in Jordan for this English-Dutch-Palestinian title, which is also supported by the Netherlands Film Fund.
The film tells the true story of Mohammed Assaf, the Palestinian singer who in 2013 saw his dream come true when he won the second season of the TV talent show Arab Idol.
The now 25-year-old Assaf has travelled incognito for two days from a refugee camp in Gaza to Egypt to participate in the internationally renowned franchising TV show. Upon arriving late, there was a risk of Assaf not being allowed to enroll. It was not until he started to sing at the lobby of the hotel that he was allowed to take part in the audition. He was admitted in the show and eventually won in the finale with Ali Al-keffiyeh, a song which is considered an unofficial Palestinian national anthem.
Nazareth-born Abu-Assad has been nominated twice for the Oscars with his controversial socio-political dramas Paradise Now [+see also:
film profile], in 2005, and Omar, in 2013. Arab Idol is expected to hit theatres in 2016.