“Captain Abu Raed” is Jordan’s first film submitted to the foreign-language Oscar race. Funnily enough, writer-director Amin Matalqa originally wanted to make an American film but producer David Pritchard suggested he make a Jordanian one and also provided some advice.
“It started when David said, ‘Make something that if Charlie Chaplin were alive, he’d want to be in,'” said Matalqa. “The main goal was to make a universal story that has no politics or religion – the things you typically associate with the Middle East.”
Pritchard hopes that countries from that region will create films that translate to the rest of the world for both business and cultural reasons. By making movies, other countries can tell their cultural truths rather than letting the West impose its culture on them.
“If you’re a read-only culture in today’s world and you’re only getting what (the West) is presenting to you, you’re going to get run over,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of things about the West that are not great and there’s an awful lot of things about other parts of the world that I think we have to try to embrace and try to understand them a little bit better.”
Pritchard continued by pointing to the economic crisis. Recent events show that the world is interconnected and everyone needs to figure out other ways to get along. His solution: “I think films help us communicate that.”