Sahim Omar Kalifa’s short film Baghdad Messi has picked up the Bermuda Shorts Award at the 17th edition of the Bermuda International Film Festival (21-27 March), thus qualifying the film to be submitted for the 87th Academy Awards.

Baghdad MessiSince its release, Baghdad Messi has travelled to over 120 film festivals around the world. Last weekend, the film won yet another award, Best Short Film in Oman, bringing the total number to 26 prizes and four special mentions. But the Oscar-qualifying prize in Bermuda tops the bill because it means the film can now be submitted to the 87th Academy Awards for the long list in the Best Live Action Short Film category.

After his highly successful short Land of the Heroes, Kalifa returned to Iraq to shoot Baghdad Messi, the story of a young man called Hamoudi who, together with his friends, eagerly awaits the Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. When Hamoudi’s TV set unexpectedly breaks down, he fears being shunned and urges his father to have it fixed in Baghdad, a risky undertaking.

Kalifa wrote the script of Baghdad Messi together with Kobe Van Steenberghe. The latter also teamed up with Hendrik Verthé to produce the film for A Team Productions (Image, The Circle). The film received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.

Published on Tuesday 1 April 2014