The Palestinian film, Omar, directed by Hany Abu-Assad, has just been nominated for an Academy Award in the Foreign Language Film category. It’s the second nomination for Abu-Assad, whose Paradise Now was up for the prize in 2005. It’s also the second time a Palestinian film has been nominated, according to Haaretz.
Omar, shot in Nazareth and the West Bank, is a romantic thriller about a baker arrested and beaten by Israeli intelligence agents following the murder of an Israeli soldier. He is then forced to become a double agent for Israeli intelligence. Nazareth-born Abu-Assad has Israeli citizenship but identifies as a Palestinian, The Times of Israel reports .
Apparently the film itself has a similar slippery identity. Local media has questioned whether it should be labeled a Palestinian film, as it was filmed in the Israeli town of Nazareth and features several Israeli Arab actors. Abu-Assad, who made the film with an entirely Palestinian crew and had mostly Palestinian funding, says there’s no debating the fact that it is an entirely Palestinian film. Omar earned the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.