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1 item from 2016

Young Mid-East Directors Pump New Energy Into Region’s Industry

13 February 2016 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

There is palpable new energy emanating from the Arab film world, largely due to a group of younger breakthrough directors finding their way to the fore, as attested by two Oscar-nominated titles this year, Jordanian Bedouin epic “Theeb” and Palestinian comic short “Ave Maria.”

This burst of creative forces is driven by daring producers tapping into new forms of financing and opportunities that are generating a wider range of pics amid a shift from a constraining Arab auteur mindset to genre movies and fresher, more audience-friendly fare.

Case in point is Naji Abu Nowar’s debut feature “Theeb,” the first Jordanian film to receive a nomination in Oscar’s foreign-language film category. Nowar, who studied screenwriting at the Sundance Institute Lab’s first Middle East program in Jordan, shot “Theeb” in Jordan’s stunning Wadi Rum valley. The film combines aspects of Bedouin tribal culture with riffs on Sergio Leone and John Ford Westerns. »

- Nick Vivarelli

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