release date February 07 2024
Three MAD Shorts set to screen at Baghdad Film Festival
MENA region film distribution and PR giant MAD Solutions is sending three short films from its impressive distribution slate to feature and compete in the Short Film Competition of the second Baghdad Film Festival, which is set to take place in the Iraqi capital from February 10th to the 14th.
The MAD lineup includes Ward Kayyal’s Palestinian drama HAMZA: CHASING THE GHOST CHASING ME, Khalil Dreyfus Zaarour’s Lebanese documentary THE BIRDS HAVE LEFT BEIRUT, and Tariq Rimawi’s Yemeni animation ZOO.
First in the lineup is Ward Kayyal’s debut Palestinian drama HAMZA: CHASING THE GHOST CHASING ME, which last competed in the Sultanbeyli International Short Film Competition and featured at the Beirut Shorts International Film Festival, and tells the story of Hamza — a middle-aged man who refuses to abandon a routine he has kept since his release from Israeli jail; every day, he goes into the woods to hunt a lion that the locals don't believe exists. 
The short world premiered at the Cairo International Film Festival and won the Best Director Award at The Notre Dame University-Louaize International Film Festival, as well as the Jury Award for Best Short Film at the Amman International Film Festival.
HAMZA: CHASING THE GHOST CHASING ME  is headlined by award-winning actor Kamel El-Basha, alongside Ruba Blal, Motaz Malhes, and Khulood Basel.
The Palestinian drama was also produced by Hiba Salameh of Hiba Production, written by Majd Kayyal, lensed by Ashraf Dowani, and edited by Saed Andoni. 
As for Khalil Dreyfus Zaarour’s THE BIRDS HAVE LEFT BEIRUT, the documentary was recently screened at the 2023 Babylon International Documentary Film Festival and scored a Best Short Documentary Award at the 2023 Bahrain Film Festival.
Directed, written, produced, and edited by Khalil Dreyfus Zaarour, THE BIRDS HAVE LEFT BEIRUT delves into the aftermath of a pivotal event that occurred on August 4th, 2020. This date shook a country, changed a city, and destroyed lives. The film views the disaster through Zeina’s eyes.
Starring Rodolphe Zaarour and produced by Paul Thiltges Distributions, THE BIRDS HAVE LEFT BEIRUT held its world premiere at the Cairo International Film Festival, and went on to win the Silver Tower Special Jury Award for the Documentary Film Competition at the Cairo International Short Film Festival and feature at the Lebanese Film Festival in Australia.
Last in the lineup is Tariq Rimawi’s animated short film ZOO, which World premiered at the Red Sea International Film Festival, held its European premiere at the XXIV International Festival Corti da Sogni Antonio Ricci — where it won the Giuseppe Maestri Prize for Best Animation — and featured at the Short Film Corner of Cannes.
It also won Best Short Animation at the Bahrain, Tangier Film Festival, Beirut Shorts, and Shorty Week international film festivals.
ZOO follows Sami, who wanders through the worst zoo in the world while looking for his ball, and then crosses paths with a little tiger named Laziz, who follows him on his quest to find a safe place to play. Against all odds, they become friends. But the remnants of war harbor danger.
Written, directed, and edited by Tariq Rimawi, the film is produced by Moritz Mayerhofer and Aminah Abdat of StudioNICE Creative, was supported by Jordan’s Royal Film Commission, and received a co-production prize from the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation.