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(Los Angeles, CA) – May 6, 2019. The American Pavilion at the 71st Festival de Cannes has included in the selection of their annual Emerging Filmmaker Showcase the bold dramatic short film Jumper, by Egyptian-American actor-director Ayman Samman. In this powerful yet intimate 11-min film, the subjects of sexual identity and suicide are trapped in a vertiginous dilemma between morality and choice, following tradition or following your heart. The short cautionary tale aims to spark a much-needed dialogue in the Middle Eastern community, while featuring dimensional, non-stereotypical characters from that group.
Jumper follows a distressed crisis negotiator (Ayman Samman) who attempts to rescue – off the ledge – a young man (Mico Saad) who questions his sexual identity. Although the film tells the struggles of Middle Eastern LGBTQ individuals, its message of acceptance transcends cultural boundaries, and makes it undeniably universal.
Sunday 05/19 @ 4pm: Emerging Filmmaker Showcase – American Pavilion
Wednesday 05/22 @ 12pm: Short Film Corner – Palais G
A Q&A will follow with director-actor Ayman Samman,
actress, co-producer Rasha Mohamed and cinematographer Shakeel Bin Afzal.
“Jumper is selected for the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase because of its timely subject matter, wonderful characters and unflinching look at suicide and the ‘Q’ in LGBTQ,” says Monika Skerbelis, director of the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase.
“I wanted to tell a story that features Middle Eastern characters with experiences that are rarely discussed in our culture because they are still taboo. I believe that hiding any part of who you truly are is not beneficial for the collective of humanity,” says writer and director Ayman Samman, who is making his directorial debut with Jumper. “As humans, when we see that there are others who face the same challenges, we no longer feel alone. I believe films and stories can help us heal or serve as a catalyst in someone’s healing,” he adds.
Egyptian TV personality Mico Saad, in his first dramatic role, plays a young man who has lost hope because he fears coming out as a “Q”—someone who questions their sexuality—to his Middle Eastern family, on the day of his wedding.
Moreover, Samman, who acted in American Sniper, Scandal, The Looming Tower, Madam Secretary, and other large-scale productions, wanted to create his own films which are void of the on-screen stereotypical Arab characters and create opportunities for Middle Eastern performers to be in those projects.
“I have been exposed to many Network TV scripts by major and smaller studios that feature us as refugees, terrorists or dictators. And women are shown as weak and oppressed. It’s time that we correct that,” concludes Samman.
Jumper co-star and co-producer Rasha Mohamed, who is also Egyptian-American, plays a senior FBI Officer. “It is rare that you find Middle Eastern actresses in a production that is not associated with acts of terror or war,” she reiterates. “That, and the fact that the story exposes topics that are silenced in my own community, is priceless, because these are the stories I’m passionate about,” she concludes.
Jumper is an Aymanation Inc. and Onyx Media Productions film. Written and directed by Ayman Samman. Starring Ayman Samman (Jack Salama), Mico Saad (Jumper) and Rasha Mohamed (Nola Rimes). Co-produced by Rasha Mohamed and Rick Weis. Cinematography by Shakeel Bin Afzal. Production Sound Mixing by Muhammad Sultan. Edited by Rick Weis. Music by Chris Phillips. Visual Effects by Paul DeNigris.
To find out more about Jumper, please visit the following links:
Twitter: @AymaNation @MicoSaad @RashaMohamedNow
Instagram: @AymaNation @MicoSaad @RashaMohamedHere
Hashtags: #JumperShortFilm #Cannes2019 #AmPav2019
I wanted to tell a story that featured Middle-Eastern characters dealing with issues that are rarely discussed in our culture. Jumper tackles topics that are still considered taboo in Middle Eastern communities such as Suicide and LGBTQ issues. I believe films and stories can heal or serve as a catalyst in someone’s healing.