Jordan Goes to Sundance

الجمعة 25 كانون الثاني 2008

Mahmoud al Massad taking questions

Photo: Mahmoud al Massad taking questions at a showing of his film Recycle.

PARK CITY, UTAH – Alright folks, Ramsey here. I’ve made the trip to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. In the coming days, I’ll be posting reviews of the two Jordanian Films – Recycle and Captain Abu Raed, pictures, and reactions from folks around Sundance.

From a total of 8,731 films submitted to the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah, Captain Abu Raed and another Jordanian film, Recycle were selected as two of the films to be shown during the 10 day festival. Sundance, as it is more frequently known, is one of the world’s most premiere festivals for independent films.

Nestled in the majestic and snowy mountains of Utah, Park City grows from a normal population ofCrowds at Sundace 8,000 to over 50,000 filmmakers, fans, and skiing enthusiasts during the festival. Park City is a leading skiing destination as well as home to the skiing events for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

Some initial impressions. Sundance is huge. Lots of people, lots of famous people, filmmakers, sponsors and the whole bit. It’s the very definition of See and be Seen in Park City this week. I’ve never see so many fur coats in my life.

Sundance is super organized. I was able to check in, get my press credentials, and be online within 20 minutes. It was quite easy. They’ve done this before, and it shows that they know what they are doing.

Recycle, a documentary set in Zarqa and filmed and directed by Mahmoud al Massad, received rave reviews from the crowds. After the showing, Mahmoud took questions from the audience and explained the motivations behind the movie. The crowd was enthralled with the movie and Mahmoud’s answers. As we walked through the streets of Park City, several people, seemingly out of no where stopped him and congratulated him on his movie. His second showing had a wait list of more than 40 people.

Nadim and Rana

Photo: Nadim Sawalha and Rana Sultan exchange jokes before the opening of Captain Abu Raed at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The opening of Captain Abu Raed felt like that of a major Hollywood movie premier. People lining the streets, Amin Matalqa, Rana Sultan, Nadim Sawalha, and Ghandi Saber mingled with the crowd that had formed around them as they arrived. Jordanian flags and red and white kuffiyahs were easy to spot. Even the doorman was wearing a kuffiyah.

The crowd clearly appreciated the film and happily peppered Amin and crew with questions after it finished. The excitement was hard to contain and the theater crew attempted to clear the theater in preparation for the next film – their efforts were met with resistance as the only option was to return outside as the temperatures plummeted.

Check back soon for reviews of both Captain Abu Raed and Recycle. For more pictures go to Ikbis.

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