Jordanian film Theeb, a critically acclaimed coming-of-age desert drama that received backing from Abu Dhabi’s Sanad fund for film development and post-production, has been nominated for two awards at Britian’s prestigious Baftas.
It comes hot on the heels of the film earning a place on the shortlist of nine films in contention for an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
In the list of Bafta nominations for 2016, announced on Friday, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts revealed that Theeb, the debut feature from British-born Jordanian director/co-writer Naji Abu Nowar, was in the running for Best Film Not in the English Language. In addition, Abu Nowar and producer Robert Lloyd were nominated for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.
The film, shot entirely in the southern deserts of Jordan, delves into Arab history during the First World War as seen through the eyes of Theeb, a young Bedouin boy, and his brother Hussein as they leave the safety of their tribe on a treacherous journey at the dawn of the Great Revolt. The filmmakers collaborated with Bedouin tribes to get an authentic depiction of their lives, and the cast mostly featured local tribesmen, who were given acting workshops for eight months.
Among the high-profile nominations for the Baftas, a good indicator of likely Oscar nominees, Carol and Bridge of Spies lead the way, with nine each.
The nominations for Carol, a love story set in 1950s New York starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, include best leading actress for Blanchett, supporting actress for Mara, best film, and best director for Todd Haynes.
Bridge of Spies, a true-life tale starring Tom Hanks as a lawyer negotiating the swap of a captured Soviet spy for a US pilot held captive by the Russians during the Cold War, won a nomination for director Steven Spielberg and for best film. Mark Rylance, who plays the Russian spy, was nominated for best supporting actor.
The Revenant, in which a bear attack sparks a quest for revenge, earned eight nominations, including best film, best leading actor for Leonardo DiCaprio and best director for Alejandro G Inárritu – last year’s Academy Award winner for Birdman.
Action adventure Mad Max: Fury Road earned seven nominations, but all were in the technical categories.
Space adventure The Martian also has six nominations, including Ridley Scott for director and Matt Damon as leading actor. Financial-crisis comedy The Big Short took five nominations.
Last year’s BAFTA leading actor winner Eddie Redmayne is in the running again for his role in The Danish Girl, which was also nominated for outstanding British film. Co-star Alicia Vikander was nominated in the leading actress category.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, which was partly filmed in Abu Dhabi, was ignored in the main categories but will compete for original music, sound, production design and special effects.
The 69th British Academy Film Awards take place on Debruary 14 at the Royal Opera House in London.
Source: art & life