Amin Matalqa was born in Jordan, raised in Ohio, and has been living in Los Angeles for the past 16 years. After graduating from the American Film Institute with an MFA in directing, his first feature film, Captain Abu Raed, won the Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Audience Award in 2008 and became Jordan’s first Oscar entry for Best Foreign Film. His next project was Disney’s first Arabic language film, the soccer drama, The United; followed by the LA-set romantic comedy, Strangely In Love, co-starring Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction); and the action adventure, The Rendezvous, starring Stana Katic (Castle, Absentia). Next up, Amin is directing his first animated film, Hump, alongside Pixar veteran, Rob Gibbs. In television, Amin co-wrote the pilot and directed two episodes of Netflix’s supernatural show, Jinn, and is currently in development on a new show. Between films, Amin teaches directing at the American Film Institute.
Directing Reel: https://vimeo.com/164120523
Amin Matalqa immigrated from Jordan to the US at age 13. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio where he developed his love for writing and cinema. Spielberg, Chaplin, Hitchcock and Zemeckis were his heroes. He studied Business at Ohio State University and had a thriving five year career in corporate telecommunications when he felt an awakening that screamed “What's stopping you from pursuing your dreams?”
In 2003, he moved to Los Angeles with his dogs and started a new life. Made friends in coffee shops and cast them in one short film a month that he wrote/directed for two years until he got accepted at the American Film Institute where he received his MFA in Directing. The same year he graduated, he flew back to his native Jordan where he shot his first feature film as writer/director/producer: Captain Abu Raed. The story of an old Jordanian airport janitor who inspires dreams in the kids in his poor neighborhood, the film went on to win the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival along with 27 festival prizes and became Jordan’s first Oscar submission. The film also won the $100,000 prize at the Heartland Film Festival, got Amin out of debt, and the next year he married the muse of his dreams, Claire Naber.
In 2011, he directed Walt Disney Studio’s Arabic language soccer drama/comedy, The United. Also shot in Jordan with a cast of kids from across the Middle East. The next year, because of his love of Chaplin and Russian literature, Amin combined the two to make Strangely In Love, a Los Angeles set comedy adaptation of Dostoevsky’s White Knights. co-starring Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction).
In his last film, The Rendezvous, Amin directed the dynamic duo of Stana Katic (Castle) and Raza Jaffrey (Homeland) in a caper adventure that travels from LA to the desert of Jordan and Petra where they filmed Lawrence of Arabia and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Most recently, Amin has ventured into television, writing and directing on three episodes of the supernatural Netflix show, Jinn. He is currently directing his first animated feature film, Hump, alongside Pixar veteran, Rob Gibbs. Amin is also an alumnus of the ABC/DGA Diverse Directors program and teaches directing at the American Film Institute between films.