Posted on November 18, 2019

Directed by Mohanad Hayal, the Iraqi film Haifa Street will join the 24th edition of The Rabat International Author Film Festival, (November 16-22). This comes days before it is set to compete in the Horizons of Arab Cinema Competition, held within Cairo International Film Festival. The film landed its Arab world premiere at the Carthage Film Festival, where it garnered wide audience and critical acclaim.

Aiming to destroy the clichés, The Rabat International Author Film Festival (FICAR) (Festival International du Cinema D'Auteur de Rabat) was established in 1994 to bring together filmmakers from around the world. Its latest edition screens more than 70 films, including 15 that will compete for the grand prize at the festival. The film has received six awards including; the Best Film award at the Busan International Film Festival, last October, the Laser Film Award and HAKKA Distribution award at Takmil workshop of the Carthage Film Festival (JCC), Lab Award from the Asia Pacific Academy, Market Award at the Tribeca International Film Festival and the Cinescape award, presented by Front Row, at Dubai International Film Festival. Furthermore, the film won a post-production grant from Doha Film Institute

Set in Baghdad in 2006, Haifa Street is one of the most dangerous places suffering from the civil war and violence that has plagued the city. When Ahmed is dropped off there by taxi on his way to his beloved Suad’s house to ask for her hand in marriage, he gets shot by Salam, an anxious young sniper who is living his own personal hell on a rooftop above. Suad desperately tries to save Ahmed, but Salam prevents anyone from approaching him under the threat of gunfire. When her daughter Nadia elicits the help of their cunning neighbor Dalal, all hell breaks loose under the ominous presence of the American occupation.

Directed by Mohanad Hayal, and co-written with Hala Alsalman, Haifa Street stars Asad Abdulmajeed, Yumna Marwan, Iman Abdulhassan and Ali Thamer, and produced by Sumerian Dream productions. Wide Management handles the world distribution, while MAD Solutions handles its distribution and marketing across the Arab world. Mohanad Hayal was born in southern Iraq in the city of Nasiriyah in 1985.He graduated from the Cinema Department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad. He participated in many advanced cinema workshops in a number of countries around the world. He spent ten years working as an assistant director in many Arab feature films. He also worked as a production manager for a number of short and feature films.

His film Happy Birthday was selected for the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival and received the Rising Star Award at the 2013 Rhode International Film Festival in America. His latest feature film Haifa Street was selected as one of the most important African, Middle Eastern and Arab projects at the Venice International Film Festival (Final Cut). Mohanad currently lives in Baghdad and presides the Film Production department at the Iraqi Ministry of Culture.