Hany Abu-Assad
Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, the acclaimed author of “Paradise Now” and nominated at the Academy Awards 2014 with his latest film “Omar”, will be the special guest at the fifth edition of the Middle East Now, with the first retrospective dedicated to his work.

Among the highlights of the fifth edition of MIDDLE EAST NOW, the international festival of films, documentaries, arts and events dedicated to the Middle East, that will be held in Florence from 9 to 14 April 2014, there will be the first retrospective dedicated to Hany Abu-Assad, one of the most talented and acclaimed Middle Eastern directors, nominated two times for the Academy Award.

In Florence, the Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad will present the Italian premiere of his latest film “OMAR”, the thriller “Grand Jury Prize” at the Cannes Film Festival and nominated for the Academy Awards 2014 as “Best Foreign Film”, which will be the opening film of the festival at the Odeon Cinema.

In the program of the festival there will be also 5 of his most famous works, such as The Fourteenth Chick, Rana ‘s Wedding, Paradise Now, and the documentaries Nazareth 2000 and Ford Transit.

Hany Abu-Assad was born in Nazareth in 1961, and after a few years working as an aeronautical engineer in the Netherlands, he founded a film production company and began producing television programs on immigrants. He has been directing his first short films since 1992 and began his career as a director of feature films in 1998. All his films are focused on stories of multi-cultural co-existence, both in Europe and in the Middle East. In 2006 his famous title “Paradise Now”, the story of two Palestinian men preparing a suicide attack in Israel, was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film.

His latest film “OMAR” (2013), which represented Palestine for Academy Award 2014, had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, inside “Un Certain Regard” section, where he received the Grand Jury Prize. Omar is a deeply moving thriller about a difficult and complex topic. The protagonist is a young cook and Palestinian fighter who often crosses the wall in the Occupied Territories to join his secret lover Nadia. But after an act of violent resistance, in which he and his friends kill an Israeli soldier, Omar is captured and forced to play the “cat and mouse” by the Israeli military police, during which he will break the relationship of trust towards his companions and childhood friends Amjad and Tarek, this last one being also the brother of Nadia. An intimate portrait, sometimes claustrophobic but sometimes surprisingly humorous too, depicting the bonds of friendship, love, betrayal and sacrifice, in a situation of great pressure.

OMAR film by Hany Abu-Assad 2