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.

Returning to his native Iraq, Kalifa shot the story of Hamoudi, a young boy who is wild about football and adores star player Lionel Messi. Just like the other children of the village, he eagerly awaits the long-awaited clash between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. But then the family’s TV set breaks down, and Hamoudi – afraid of being shunned by his friends – urges his father to make a dangerous trip to Baghdad to have it fixed.

Kalifa’s Baghdad Messi has travelled the world since its international premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival at the end of 2012. Up until now, it has received over 150 festival invitations. The film has also won 42 international awards and four special mentions, performing even better than its predecessor Land of the Heroes, which scooped more than 20 awards including the Generation Kplus Jury Award in Berlin. Meanwhile the director’s latest short, Bad Hunter, has made an impressive start with awards in Montreal and Valladolid to date.

Kalifa and Kobe Van Steenberghe scripted Baghdad Messi, the latter also producing the film together with partner Hendrik Verthé for a team productions (Image, The Circle). Baghdad Messi received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz.

Published on Monday 24 November 2014

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