Amjad Al-Rasheed’s drama feature film INSHALLAH A BOY kicked off its international tour with a booming world premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, May 18th, in the presence of its cast and crew.
In attendance were Al-Rasheed, actors Islam Al-Awadi and Mohammad Jizawi; producers Rula Nasser, Aseel Abu Ayyash, and Youssef Abdelnabi; make-up artist Farah Jaddan; costume designer Zeina Soufan; along with Nour Halawani, Hala, Lara Abu Filat, and Azza Hourani.
The first Jordanian film to be selected for the Cannes Film Festival had a full house screening, with public dignitaries, A-list celebrities, critics, and media figures from foreign media outlets flocking to see it.
INSHALLAH A BOY also garnered immediate widespread acclaim, receiving a standing ovation before a lively post-premiere Q&A with the crew.
The film follows the recently widowed Nawal, who has to save her daughter and home following her husband’s death in a society where having a son is a game changer.
The film kicked off its journey as a project, joining several international workshops, including the 79th Venice International Film Festival's Final Cut, where it nabbed a La Biennale di Venezia Prize and a cash award. Moreover, it received two cash awards from the El Gouna Film Festival and Festival International de Films de Fribourg.
INSHALLAH A BOY also received production and post-production support from Jordan's Royal Film Commission in two cycles, a monetary prize from the Arab Radio and Television Network at the fifth Cairo Film Connection, and production support from the Doha Film Institute.
Directed by Al-Rasheed and co-written alongside Delphine Augte and Rula Nasser, the film stars Hawa, Haitham Omari, Salwa Nakkara, Yumna Marwan, Al-Jizawi, Al-Awadi, and Celina Rabab'a.
Additionally, the film was produced by Nasser and Abu Ayyash; co-produced by Youssef Abdelnabi, Raphaël Alexandre, and Nicolas Leprêtre; associate produced by Alaa Karkouti, Maher Diab, and Shahinaz El-Akkad; lensed by Kanamé Onoyama, edited by the prolific Ahmed Hafez; sound mixed by Nour Halawani; and scored by Jerry Lane. Also, Zeina Soufan and Nasser Zoubi served as the project's costume and production designers respectively.
In terms of the larger companies at play, the film was produced by Imaginarium Films, Georges Films, and Bayt Al-Shawareb. Meanwhile, MAD Solutions and Lagoonie Film Production are in charge of distributing it all over the Arab world and Pyramide International is handling international sales and distribution in France.
This film marks Al-Rasheed's second collaboration with MAD, as the distribution giant handled marketing for his short film THE PARROT, which he co-directed with Darin J. Sallam.
The film went on to receive several international awards, including the Jury Award for Best Short Film at the Mizna's Twin Cities Arab Film Festival in the US and the Malmö Arab Film Festival. The film also held its world premiere at the 2016 Dubai International Film Festival and is available for streaming on OSN.
A Jordanian director and writer born in 1985, Al-Rasheed holds an MFA in cinematic arts with a focus on directing and editing. In 2016, he was selected by Screen International as one of five Arab Stars of Tomorrow — a list highlighting the up-and-coming young talents of the region. He also attended the Talent Campus during the 57th Berlinale, after which he directed short films that garnered nominations and won prizes at various Arab and international film festivals.
His filmography includes THE PARROT — a short film which he co-directed in 2016 and funded by the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung — HIT THE ROAD (2011) and BITTER DAYS (2010).