“THEEB” screening in Japan: The First Oscar-nominated Film from Jordan

By November 7, 2022August 12th, 2023No Comments
November 7, 2022
The coming-of-age tale “Theeb”, the first film from Jordan that made history by receiving an Oscar nomination for the best foreign language film in 2016 was screened on Tuesday November 7, 2022 at Tokyo University of The Arts (GEIDAI).
Following the screening, producer and screenwriter Bassel Ghandour, joined a group of students online and shared the inspiring story of the making of this epic film. The film was directed by Director Naji Abu Nuwar who describes “Theeb” as a Bedouin Western, with nods to Akira Kurosawa’s samurai films and American westerns.
Prior to shooting the film, Ghandour and Abu Nuwar lived for a year in the southern Jordanian desert of Wadi Rum to meet and live among local Bedouin and gain a better understanding of their culture and lifestyle.
The screening of Theeb at GEIDAI was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences in movie-making from a technical and story building angles. The engagement of the local community in all aspects of making this movie including first-time actors was amplified and introduced.
We owe a special thanks and gratitude to Professor ICHIYAMA shozo, Director TSUTSUI Takefumi, GEIDAI and to the faculty and students for the opportunity to share the great and inspiring story of how this low-budget movie made it to Oscar nominations.
FILM MAKING IN JORDAN: a thriving industry
“Jordan can accommodate multiple productions and aims to entice productions to base themselves in the country, not just use it as a location. With high-end infrastructure, hotels and services, Jordan is set to add the next element: a studio facility. “Within 16 to 18 months, Jordan will have the first phase of a studio, most probably with three soundstages, on the outskirts of Amman,” says Mohannad Bakri, managing director of Jordan’s Royal Film Commission (RFC). This studio will be a new attraction for Jordan as a destination to film.
Jordanian cast and crew make up between 60%-70% on foreign and local productions shooting here. The first ADs on both Aladdin and Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker were Jordanian, hired because of capability and not for tax rebate eligibility.
Jordan has increased the maximum cash rebate available from 10% of Jordan spend to 25% for international productions. For a minimum local spend of $1m up to $3m, Jordan offers a 10% rebate, rising to 15% for productions between $3m to $5m. For spends of between $5m to $7m, the rebate is 20% and for $7m and above, productions are offered 25%.”