Sundance-winning filmmaker, Amin Matalqa, was born in Jordan, raised in Ohio, and has been living in Los Angeles for the past 15 years. After graduating from the American Film Institute with an MFA in directing, his first feature film as writer/director/producer, Captain Abu Raed, won the Audience Award at Sundance in 2008, and became Jordan’s first Oscar entry for Best Foreign Film. His other films include Disney’s The United; the romantic comedy, Strangely In Love; the action adventure, The Rendezvous, starring Stana Katic (ABC’s Castle); and the upcoming animated film, Hump, which he co-wrote and is pre-production on, with Pixar veteran Rob Gibbs directing. Amin is also an alumnus of the ABC TV Directors program, and is in development on his own TV show, Men In Steel.
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 latest 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.
After losing his wife Claire to a long battle with cancer in 2015, he decided to take a break from movies and write a book of short stories, Heroes & Idiots. Since then, Amin has been directing some commercials and has written a TV show about grief, with a humorous spin. 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.