Sahim Omar Kalifa’s short Baghdad Messi adds yet another award to its already impressive tab, by winning the Golden Dagger for Best Short at the Muscat Film Festival in Oman. With 26 international awards, the film even outruns its successful predecessor Land of the Heroes.

Baghdad MessiSince its release, Baghdad Messi has travelled to over 120 film festivals around the world, reigning in 26 awards and four special mentions so far, while Kalifa’s previous short, the highly successful Land of the Heroes, gathered 24.

Although part of a fierce competition of 47 short films from Europe, Asia and Africa, Baghdad Messi came out on top in the shorts section of the Muscat Film Festival in Oman, a Sultan state situated on the southeast coast of the Arabian peninsula. Baghdad Messi was previously awarded in Dubai, Alexandria, Beirut, Baghdad, Los Angeles and New York among others.

It is also confirmed for future screenings at the European Beauvais Film Festival in France, the Grenzland Film Days in Germany, the CAFS Survival International Film Festival in Australia and the Newport Beach Festival in the US, to name a few. Baghdad Messi is also one of eight films proceeding to the finals of the KingBonn International New Media Short Film Festival in China.

The short film takes its viewers to Iraq on the eve of the Champions League finale between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. As big fans of Lionel Messi, Hamoudi and his friends are eagerly awaiting this long awaited clash. But then Hamoudi’s parents’ TV set breaks down. Afraid to lose his friends, the boy urges his father to have it repaired in Baghdad, a risky endeavour.

Sahim Omar Kalifa and Kobe Van Steenberghe wrote the script of Baghdad Messi. Van Steenberghe also produced the short, together with Hendrik Verthé, for young production hub a team productions, currently finishing post-production on Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s feature debut Image. Baghdad Messi could count on support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.

Published on Monday 31 March 2014