Captains of Za’atari follows the two best friends Mahmoud and Fawzi living in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Captains of Zaatari by Egyptian director Ali El Arabi will land its Arab World premiere at El Gouna Film Festival (14-22 October) on 16 October, within the official competition of the Documentary Section after it was nominated for 15 awards and participated in 82 international film festivals including Visions Du Reel, Human Rights Film Festival Berlin, CPH:DOX.
The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was chosen as the second-best film in the lineup of the festival. It is produced by Ambient Light (Egypt) and has received support from numerous international institutions during its different phases of production.
Marking his feature documentary debut, Ali El Arabi, the film’s director, and producer, spent 8 years working on the film Captains of Za’atari in Za’atari camp, Jordan with co-producers Ayah Dowara, Amjad Abu Alala, Michael Henrichs, and Consulting Producers Mark Lotfy, Danel J. Chalfen. Dog Woof is the International Distributor of the film while the MENA region distribution is handled by Film Clinic Indie Distribution.
The film is returning to El Gouna after it had received multiple Post-production Awardsat the CineGouna SpringBoard in its third edition. IEFTA, which had offered the participation in IEFTA’s Global Film Expression Initiative & sponsorship to attend a partnering festival lab to the film, continues to support the film within its partnership with GFF and UNHCR as part of the Cinema for Humanity mandate of the festival.
“UNHCR believes that films made for social impact are an important tool to use. We welcome the concept of cinema for humanity as a forerunner in this respect. Captains of Zaatari is a powerful story that challenges preconceived notions about refugees, touches the hearts of the audience, and helps people look at refugees in a new way,” said Pablo Mateu UNHCR Egypt Representative.
The film participated in and was supported by Tribeca Film Institute, Malmo Arab Film Festival, Good Pitch Beirut, Medimed Market. It was also among six projects selected for the work-in-progress Program Final Cut in Venice.
Captains of Za’atari follows the two best friends Mahmoud and Fawzi living in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan who have an undying dream of becoming professional soccer players while facing the difficult reality of their lives. Despite being locked in a space that has no facilities or opportunities for training, they remain hopeful and practice day in and day out. When a world-renowned sports academy visits, both have a chance to make this dream come true.