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Catching Up With Amin Matalqa

Amin Matalqa is a director whose debut feature, Captain Abu Raed (2007), was the first film produced in Jordan in 50 years, and won the Audience Award for World Cinema—Dramatic at Sundance. He’s directed several other films and TV productions since then, and is in post on his latest, 5000 Blankets, starring Anna Camp.

I’ve known Amin since the 1990s when he was a very enthusiastic and supportive FSM reader. He would write and call our office about his passion for film scores, particularly those of Michael Kamen. He later got to meet Kamen and his family, a very meaningful experience for him, on the basis of my offering the contact information. (Which I don’t remember, though it sounds like something I would do.)

Amin and I are around the same age, and had similar experiences of loving films and film music (in a remote area—though his early childhood in Jordan was way more remote than mine on Martha’s Vineyard) but not having anybody with whom to share that passion.

In fact, this was exactly why I created FSM—to bring us together, in the pre-Internet era. So it’s nice to know it worked!

Amin is always so gracious and enthusiastic with crediting FSM, and me personally, as a formative influence in his life. And for that I am very glad.

It does give me a slight taste, however, of what it must be like to be a celebrity and have people come up to you and thank you for the impact on their life. On the one hand, you want to be kind and recognize the meaning of what they say, and be gracious about it, but on the other...what are we talking about? I’m no celebrity!

I am proud of Amin for becoming an internationally recognized film director (who loves to make films in order to create the scores, which is my philosophy as well).

Some years ago, when Amin was on a festival tour, he was on Martha’s Vineyard and met my father, who attended an event. My dad thereafter told me on the phone about this unusual, very accomplished young man who seemed star struck that he happened to meet the father of the publisher of Film Score Monthly.

But that’s Amin—he’s always so passionate, and kind, and generous, and enthusiastic.

Earlier this week we had lunch—turns out we don’t live that far apart in the L.A. area—and we were trying to figure out if we had met in person before. I seemed to remember that we had, very briefly, outside some film composer autograph event maybe 14 years ago. But Amin wasn’t sure—and I was beginning to doubt my own memory—until we posed for the above photo. Then we both exclaimed, at the same time, “We took a photo!”

It was a delight to finally meet Amin and spend some time with you, and share a lunch and hear his boisterous laughter when I quoted a random joke from an old movie.

It’s a strange world full of tragedy (Ukraine)...and a tough business full of disappointment (Hollywood) you take the win when you can.

Amin’s spirit, talent and laughter are always a win.

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