EN - Iraq, 2009. Little Hamoudi (10) is totally obsessed with football. Just like the rest of the world, he and his friends are eagerly looking forward to the Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United - the long awaited clash between Messi and Ronaldo. But then Hamoudi’s television breaks down...

FR - Irak, 2009. Le petit Hamoudi (10 ans) est passionné de football. Tout comme le reste du monde, lui et ses amis attendent avec impatience la finale de la Ligue des champions FC Barcelone-Manchester United. La confrontation tant attendue entre Messi et Ronaldo. C’est alors que la télévision d’Hamoudi tombe en panne...


Title Baghdad Messi
Original title Baghdad Messi
Original language Arabic
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Shorts
Genre Drama
Year 2013


Cast Ali Raad Al-Zaydawi, Hayder Helo, Noor Al-Hoda
Photography Kobe Van Steenberghe, Robrecht Heyvaert
Editing Pieterjan Bergmans
Sound Maarten Leemans, Thomas Vertongen
Art director Serkaut Mustafa
Costume Vicky Colin
Music Hannes De Maeyer
Special effects Arne Normon
VFX Hans Lettany

Technical specs

Running time film 17'
Release format Digibeta
Other available formats HDCAM, DVD, Digital file
Aspect ratio 1.85
Sound format stereo
Colour Colour
Available in 2D


Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)
Production partners Dubai Entertainment and Media Organisation (DEMO)
Tax shelter partners uFilm


Dubai Film Festival UAE 2013 (world premiere)  - IKL Leuven, Belgium - Gulf Film Festival Dubai UAE 2013 - Huesca Film Festival 2013 - Progetto Cinema 2013 - Horcynus Festival 2013, Italy - Duhok Film Festival 2013 - 1st Kalar International Film Festival 2013 - 6th Asian-Morroccan Short Film Festival Tissa  2013 - Film Festival Delicatessen 2013, Belgium - Brussels Film Festival 2013  - Law Film festival - Kurdistan Irak - MENAR Film Festival - 6th edition - Umea Campus Royal Film festival 2013 - Rencontres du Cinema Arabe Marseille 2013 - 19th Lessinia Film Festival 2013 - Arab Film Festival Australia 2013 - Film Festival Malmö 2013 - TaZ Oostende 2013 - Festival du monde Arabe Azrou-Ifrane 2013 - Nederlands Film Festival Utrecht 2013 - 10th Sedicicorto International Film Festival 2013 - Beirut Film Festival 2013 - PUFF New York 2013 - CircuitoOff Venice 2013 - Farabi Film Festival Teheran 2013 - Visioni Corte 2013  - UWFF 2013 New York  - 5th HAFF 2013 Hangzhou (China)  - Image Film festival 2013 Denmark - International Short Film festival Drama Greece 2013  - Teheran Short Film festival 2013 - Film Festival Reggio Emilia 2013  - 27th International Festival of Films for Children and Young Adults 2013 - 5th Lahore International Children's Film Festival 2013 – Pakistan - Baghdad International Film Festival 2013  - Ayjal Youth Festival Doha 2013 - Regiofun Film festival Katowice 2013 Poland - ISFFC Cyprus 2013  - Alexandria Film Festival 2013 - Evolution EIFF Palma 2013 Mallorca XVIII International TV Festival Bar Montenegro - Filemon Childrens festival Brussels 2013 Belgium - Arlington International Film Festival 2013 - 9th Children’s India International Film Festival 2013 - Relatos Cortos Film festival Buenos Aires 2013 - Contemporary Festival Kathmandu Nepal 2013 - Flutlicht Film Festival Switserland 2013 - Interfilm Festival Berlin 2013 - Grand OFF Warsaw Poland 2013 - Relics Kunstenfestival Antwerpen 2013 - Fesitval di cortomettragio di Resana 2013 - 8th London Kurdish film festival 2013 - 24FPS International Film Festival 2013, Texas - 3rd Gulf Film Days Amman 2013 - Arab Camera Filmfestival Rotterdam 2013 - Certamen Cortos Soria filmfestival 2013 - Batman Turkey Film festival 2013 – Foyle International Film Festival Londenderry Ireland 2013 – 9th International Children’s Film Festival Bengaluru, India 2013 - Gijon International film festival Spain 2013 – KO&Digital Film festival Cine Solidario 2013, Barcelona, Spain – 7th L’Aguila International Film festival 2013, Italy – 1st Toamna auf Aur 2013 Chisisnau,  Moldavia – Sportfilmfestival 2013 Antwerpen, Belgium – Bogoshorts 2013, Bogota, Colombia


Best Film - Gulf Film Festival Dubai (SA), Grand Prize 'Best Film' - Brescello International Film Festival (IT), Second Best Film - Asian-Moroccan Festival of Short Films Tissa (MA), Best Director - International Short Film Festival Kalar (IQ), Jury Award - Arab Film Festival Malmö (SE), Best Film - Festival du monde Arabe Azou-Ifrane (MA), Silver Aleph - Beirut Int'l Film Festival (LB), Best Film Latina Commission - Visioni Corte Rassegna (IT), Audience Award - Visioni Corte Rassegna (IT), Best Short Film - Baghdad Film Festival (IQ), Best Short Film - Alexandria Film Festival, (EG), Golden Olive - Bar International Film and TV Festival (RS), Jury Prize - Regiofun International Film Festival Katowice, (PL), Best Fiction Short - Relatos Cortos Festival Buenos Aires (AR), Grand Jury Prize for Best Film - Relatos Cortos Festival Buenos Aires (AR), Jury Prize - Yerevan Int'l Film Festival for Youth & Children (AM),  Childrens' Jury Prize - Yerevan Int'l Film Festival for Youth & Children (AM), First Prize 'Confrontations - Films against Violence & Intolerance' - Interfilm Berlin (DE), Best Film - Aquila Film Festival (IT), Silver Award - Roshd International Film Festival (IR), Red Cross Award - Roshd International Film Festival (IR), 2nd Best Film - KO&Digital International Film Festival (SP), Best Film - NOFI Film Festival, Los Angeles (US), Best Short - Arlington International Film Festival (US), Beste Short - Winterfilm International Film Festival NY (US), Beste Short - Muscat International Film Festival (OM)

Special mentions

Int'l Short Film Festival Leuven (BE), UrbanWorld Film Festival New York (US), Zoom International Film Festival (PL), Tampere Film Festival (FI)


  • Swiss: RTI s.p.A.
  • Italy: RTI s.p.A.
  • Japan: Pacific Voice Inc.
  • Australia: SBS Television

Baghdad Messi’s tally climbs to 50

Baghdad Messi, the short film by Kurdish-Flemish director Sahim Omar Kalifa, has won the prize for Best Short Film at the Irvine International Film Festival in the US. This award marks the 50th international acknowledgment for Baghdad Messi since the filmstarted its awards career in 2013.

Baghdad MessiBaghdad Messi tells the story of10-year-old Hamoudi, who is obsessed with football andworships Lionel Messi, as do all his friends. But on the eve of the long-awaited Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United, Hamoudi’s television set breaks down. Afraid of being shunned by his mates, the boy urges his father to make the dangerous trip to Baghdad to have the TV repaired.

Published on Monday 26 January 2015

Sahim Omar Kalifa’s shorts keep on scoring

Sahim Omar Kalifa’s short film Bad Hunter has won the Jury Prize in the Muhr Short Film Competition at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival (10-17 December). It’s the third international award for Kalifa’s newest film, while his previous short Baghdad Messi continues its awards spree.

Bad HunterThe Jury Prize comes with a sum of 25,000 AED (about $7,000) and is number three in the film’s awards tally. Bad Hunter previously won a Jury Award at the Montreal World Film Festival, where it premiered last summer; and picked up a Silver at Spike Valladolid. In January, the film is confirmed to screen at Australia’s Oscar-qualifying Flickerfest.

Published on Monday 5 January 2015

Baghdad Messi shortlisted for Oscars

Sahim Omar Kalifa’s award-winning Baghdad Messi has been shortlisted for the upcoming Oscars in the category of Best Live-Action Short. In total, 10 shorts are left in the voting process, with the nominees due to be announced on January 15.

Sahim Omar KalifaOut of 141 qualifying short films, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected 10 live-action shorts, Kalifa’s Baghdad Messi among them. In the next couple of weeks, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will narrow the list down to between three and five nominees, who will be announced on January 15. The Oscar ceremony will be held on February 22 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Published on Monday 24 November 2014

Awards mount up for Baghdad Messi

Director Sahim Omar Kalifa keeps adding new trophies to the awards count for his critically acclaimed short Baghdad Messi. Last week, the film collected another five, bringing the total of prizes so far to 38 international awards and four special mentions.

Sahim - KingbonnThe most recent awards spree for Baghdad Messi started in April in France, where the film grabbed its 30th award at the Beauvais Film Fest. Soon afterwards, it picked up the Grand Prize and the Youth Jury Prize for Best Film at the Cellu L’Art Short Film Festival in Germany as well as the award for Best Short at the International Short Film Experience in Leiden, in the Netherlands.

Published on Tuesday 20 May 2014

Messi Nets Number 30

Sahim Omar Kalifa’s critically acclaimed short film Baghdad Messi continues to bring in the awards, with a new win at the Beauvais Film Fest in France. The film was voted winner of the shorts competition by the audience in Beauvais, and has now scored 30 international awards and four honourable mentions since its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2013.

Baghdad MessiIn the next couple of months, the film will screen at the Grenzland Filmtage in Germany, the KingBonn New Media Festival in China, the Leiden International Short Film Experience in the Netherlands and the Newport Beach Film Festival in California, USA.

Published on Wednesday 23 April 2014

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Last edited on 22 April 2016

Short info

Director Sahim Omar Kalifa
Producers Hendrik Verthé, Kobe Van Steenberghe
Writers Kobe Van Steenberghe, Sahim Omar Kalifa

a team productions
Hendrik Verthé
Schipstraat 60
9550 Herzele
T +32 479 46 41 80


Magnet Film
Georg Gruber
Ilsensteinweg 35
Berlin 14129
T +49 163 80 10 753

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