Sunday night was a career-changer for writer-director Naji Abu Nowar and producer Rupert Lloyd after their film Theeb picked up a Bafta award.
The film, which was partly financed by Abu Dhabi’s Sanad fund and had its regional debut at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, won Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.
The drama, set in Jordan in the First World War, is remarkable in that much of its cast members are Bedouin tribespeople from the region, with no experience of acting in movies.
Theeb ranks alongside Factory Girl and The Wanted 18 as one of Sanad’s biggest triumphs.
It is also up for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards on February 28.
British-Jordanian Abu Nowar hopes Theeb’s success can set him up well for his second film, also to be made in the region.
“It is a big war film so I’ll need a lot of investment,” he said after his film’s Abu Dhabi premiere. “Hopefully, if Theeb succeeds, I can leave the financiers to make it happen while I go back to England to make an English-language film.”
Theeb was also nominated for the British Academy Film Awards’ Best Film Not in the English Language, but lost out to Brazilian Damian Szifron’s Wild Tales.