The Idol (Ya tayr el tayer)
Special Screening - Ajyal Youth Film Festival 2015
With his signature dramatic style and keen sense of locale, Academy Award-nominated Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad brings to the screen the inspiring life story of ‘Arab Idol’ champion Mohammed Assaf, who shot to international fame in 2013.
Ten-year-old Mohammed (Qais Atallah) and his rambunctious elder sister Nour (a knockout performance by Hiba Atallah) spend all their time chasing after the money they need to start up a band. Their determination pays off, andit’s immediately clear that young Mohammed has a very special gift for singing (wonderfully reflected Qais Atallah's own talented voice). No artist is immune to self-doubt, however, and it is Nour’s insistent encouragement that keeps Mohammed on the path to glory.
As a young man, Mohammed is still chasing after things – now, a scheme to exit Gaza so he can try out for ‘Arab Idol’ in Egypt. Everything seems to be against him, even old friends, but as we well know, his resolve paid off in spades. Admiring Assaf stems in part from our recognition that his success results from the tenacity that comes from growing up in Gaza. Talent alone does not a star make; ‘The Idol’ is a compelling case for why Assaf’s success is so well deserved.
About the Director
Hany Abu-Assad directed the oft-debated 2006 film ‘Paradise Now’, which won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and was nominated for the Academy Award in the same category, representing Palestine. ‘Paradise Now’ made its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Blue Angel Award for Best European Film, the Berliner Morgenpost Readers’ Jury Award and the Amnesty International Award for Best Film. Abu-Assad previously had an international hit with 2002’s ‘Rana’s Wedding’, the story of a young Jerusalem woman trying to get married before four o’clock. The film was selected for the Cannes Critics’ Week and went on to win prizes at Montpellier, Marrakech, Bastia and Cologne. Abu-Assad’s other credits include ‘The Courier’ (2011) and the 2002 documentary ‘Ford Transit’. Abu-Assad was born in Nazareth in 1961. After having studied and worked as an airplane engineer in the Netherlands for several years, he entered the world of cinema as a producer. He produced Rashid Masharawi’s 1994 feature film ‘Curfew’, and directed his first feature, ‘The 14th Chick’, from a script by writer Arnon Grunberg, in 1998.
- Hany Abu-Assad
- Hany Abu-Assad, Sameh Zoabi
- Ali Jaafar, Amira Diab
- Eyas Salman
- Production Designer
- Nael Kanj
- Habib Shehadeh Hanna
- Ehab Assal
- Sales Company
- Séville International
- Production Company
- A Seville Intl. presentation of a Mezza Terra Media production
- Raja Dubayah
- Qais Atallah, Hiba Atallah, Ahmed Wassim, Abd-Elkarim Abu-Barakeh, Tawfeek Barhom, Dima Awawdeh, Ahmed Al-Rokh, Saber Shreim, Nadine Labaki