On Sunday night, Theeb, an Arabic-language film subtitled by VSI, scooped the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The award was presented jointly to the film’s director, Naji Abu Nowar, and its producer, Rupert Lloyd.
Set during the First World War, Theeb tells the story of a young Bedouin boy who has no choice but to grow up fast, following the tragic death of his father. He meets a mysterious British officer in the Arabian Desert and sets off on a thrilling adventure against the backdrop of a region at war, and in a period of dramatic change.
The film almost exclusively uses non-professional actors from the Bedouin community in southern Jordan, giving it an unparalleled air of authenticity. The Jordanian, UK, UAE and Qatar co-production was produced by Lloyd and Bassel Ghandour for Bayt Al Shawareb and Noor Pictures.
Theeb also won a prize at last year’s Venice Film Festival, with Abu Nowar winning the prize for Best Director, and it has been nominated for an Oscar for best Foreign Language Film, the first Jordanian film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
VSI’s subtitling team jumped at the opportunity to work on the film, and threw themselves into the task of producing an English translation that accurately reflected the meaning and style of the Arabic dialogue. The team’s efforts paid off, with their subtitles faithfully portraying a story that is deeply moving and true to the Bedouin culture.
VSI has a rich history in Arabic translation, dating back to 1958, when our sister company Aradco was founded by NJ Dawood, a prolific Arabic translator and the father of VSI’s Group Managing Director, Norman Dawood. The first VSI office to open overseas was in Cairo, almost 20 years ago.
VSI wish Theeb the best of luck at the 88th Academy Awards, which take place on the 28th of February.
If you would like to watch the film, it is available to rent from the British Film Institute website via the link below.