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Sun 17 Jan 2016 02:08 PM

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UAE-backed Jordanian film nominated for an Oscar

Best Film favourite ‘The Martian’ starring Matt Damon was also filmed in the desert in Jordan

UAE-backed Jordanian film nominated for an Oscar

A Jordanian film part-funded by Abu Dhabi has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, while one of the Hollywood blockbusters which is a frontrunner to win Best Film was filmed in the desert in Jordan.

‘Theeb,’ an Arabic-language World War I coming-of-age story about two orphaned tribal brothers, was directed by Naji Abu Nowar.

The film was supported by the Abu Dhabi Film Festival's Sanad fund and was screened at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, where it won the Variety Filmmaker of the Year award.

"We expected the film to go the distance at other festivals, but we couldn't have imagined it to go to the Oscars," said Ali Al Jabri, the director of the festival, was quoted as saying by Gulf News.

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, it is up against four rival films, including ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ from Colombia, ‘Mustang’ from France, ‘Son of Saul’ from Hungary and ‘A War’ from Denmark.

Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) on February 28, ‘Theeb’ is not the only film nominated to have links to Jordan.

‘The Martian,’ the science fiction Hollywood blockbuster directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, tells the tale of an astronaut stranded on Mars. Some of the scenes depicted on the Red Planet were actually filmed in the Jordanian desert.

"I'd gone to Jordan before, when I was making G.I. Jane," Ridley Scott told The Hollywood Reporter. “In summer, it's 120 degrees. But there's a perfection to the simplicity of the environment. There's no vegetation. It's crisp and magnificent. I knew it was the one place to do a strange planet."

‘The Martian’ is a hot favourite to win the Oscar for Best Film, while it is also nominated for Best Director, Best Screenplay - Adapted and Best Visual Effects.

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