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 (which he wrote, directed and produced) won the Sundance Film Festival World Audience Award in 2008, and became Jordan’s first Oscar entry for Best Foreign Film. His next film was Disney’s soccer drama, The United; followed by the romantic comedy, Strangely In Love; the action adventure, The Rendezvous, starring Stana Katic (ABC’s Castle); and the upcoming animated film, Hump. In television, Amin recently completed co-writing the pilot and directing two episodes of Netflix’s supernatural show, Jinn. Amin is also an alumnus of the ABC TV Directors program, and will be teaching directing at the American Film Institute in the fall while continuing to develop his slate of film and TV projects.
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 upcoming Netflix supernatural show, Jinn. He is also producing an animated feature film, Hump, which he co-wrote and will be directed by Pixar veteran, Rob Gibbs. Amin is also an alumnus of the ABC/DGA Diverse Directors program.