Documentary / Post-production

Jordan, Egypt \ Arabic \ 100 minutes

Director: Ali El Arabi
Producer: Dina Emam, Rodrigo Brum, Aya Dowara
Production Company: Ambient Light, Lotus Picture Co.


Two best friends have been trapped in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan for over five years. Unable to go home because of the war and unable to leave the camp due to stifling international laws, they don’t let these facts hold them back and focus their energy on their first love – soccer. Both carry their dream of playing professionally on their shoulders, believing firmly that this is their only path to freedom; their dream is what drives them. Their futures at large – hopes for marriage, the wellbeing of their parents and siblings – it all rests on them. Having never left the camp since they arrived, the two work against the odds to achieve their goal while making sure to pave a way for the next generation of youth in the camp.

Ali El Arabi

Since 2010, Ali Elarabi has produced and directed documentaries across the Middle East and North Africa for Egypt’s Dream TV, Germany’s ZDF, Stern TV, as well as for the National Geographic. In 2015, he established his company Ambient Light Films where he focused mainly on projects for the Arab League and films about refugee displacement, as well as investigative pieces about Women and Children’s rights in the Middle East. Elarabi holds a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications from Mansoura University in Egypt. “Captains of Za’atari” is his first feature documentary film.

Dina Emam

Named one of Variety’s 10 Producers to Watch in 2018, Dina Emam is an Egyptian-American film producer, educator and script consultant based in Cairo. Her first feature, “Yomeddine”, had its world premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival in the Main Competition, and was Egypt’s submission for the 91st Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. In addition to producing, she teaches aspiring filmmakers in the MENA region the art and craft of film producing. Emam holds a BS degree from New York University’s Stern School of Business in Marketing and International Business and an MFA in Creative Producing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

Rodrigo Brum

Rodrigo Brum is a Brazilian philosopher and filmmaker residing in Cairo, Egypt, where he is currently co-directing with Sama Waly a documentary about the architect Hassan Fathy, recently nominated for the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. He holds an MFA in Film, Video, New Media and Animation from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In 2018 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences where he taught the course “The Preparation for a Movie”.

Aya Dowara

Aya Dowara is a film producer and currently serves as the Cultural Specialist at the US Embassy in Cairo where she designed and implemented the film program. Previously, Dowara worked as a Program Assistant in the UNDP‘s Media and Civil Society sector on the Human Rights Capacity Building Project in Egypt. She also worked as a Journalist at Sharm Time Business Magazine and Youm ElSabea Newspaper. Dowara holds a master’s in Euro Mediterranean studies and a bachelor’s in Political Science from Cairo University.