A WORLD NOT OURS Academy Award campaign

Please help us qualify our critically acclaimed documentary A WORLD NOT OURS for Oscars 2015 consideration.

About this IDEA

Help us qualify A WORLD NOT OURS for Academy Awards 2015 consideration!

Since its premiere at Toronto International Film Festival 2012 A WORLD NOT OURS has screened at over 100 festivals around the world and won dozens of awards, including the Berlinale 2013 Peace Film Award, Best International Feature in Edinburgh, the prestigious Grand Prix in Yamagata and the Grand Jury Prize in DOC NYC. We have also secured theatrical runs in France and the UK, and have upcoming runs in Germany and New York City. 

For a small team making a personal film this isn't bad, but more and more people have said to us, "why don't you try for the Oscars?" Eventually we ran out of excuses, so here we are...

The thing is, we have a kick ass film but we don't have a big machine behind us and without this we would need quite a bit of cash: $30,000 to be exact, and we can't do it without you!

"That's a lot of money," you say. You're right. But here's what the money will go towards:

  • Screening space and showtime blocking at a theatre in Los Angeles County
  • Mandatory advertising and press opportunities in at least one major highly competitive newspaper such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Weekly and Village Voice
  • Publicity and lobbying costs during the release and period when Academy members are considering nominations
  • DVDs and Digital Cinema Packages of the film
  • Travel expenses to help us promote the film on the ground

Once we get all this we will be eligible for Academy Award consideration in 2015. This means that our film will be one of the hundred or so documentaries that members of the Doc Branch of the Academy will view and from which will produce a shortlist of 15 films. After this it's on to the nominations and then HOLLYWOOD BABY!!

That sounds like a lot of steps, right? Yes and no. The key is getting our film seen. Once this happens we're convinced that it has a real chance of getting in the race.

And it's not just us!

We've piled up a raft of glowing reviews from publications like Variety and Hollywood Reporter. Here's what Thom Powers at Toronto International Film Festival said about our film:

“A World Not Ours is a dazzling act of first person filmmaking that hits notes on a far-ranging emotional scale from tears to laughter. Director Mahdi Fleifel makes us feel for his family, friends and home as strongly as if they were our own. His themes are universal, yet they are also rooted in a specific place that you’ve probably never seen in a movie before: the Palestinian refugee camp of AIN EL-HELWEH in Lebanon. 

The film is peppered with allusions to western influences from Michael Jackson to Rambo to Neil Young; and scored with nostalgic music befitting a Woody Allen soundtrack. For western viewers, those familiar touchstones – along with Mahdi’s witty narration in English – help us to project ourselves into a world that’s foreign in many other ways.

Maybe you’ve never heard of AIN EL-HELWEH before, but after this film you’ll never forget it.

Pretty sweet, huh? And we're not a one-trick pony either: our upcoming short film XENOS will be premiering in competition in the Berlinale this February!

Why is this idea important?

There has never been a better time to be a supporter and patron of Arab cinema, as the level of exposure it has received on the world stage in recent years is unprecedented. The Academy this year tipped its hat to the power of Arab cinema: Hany Abu-Assad's feature film OMAR (Palestine), Jehane Noujaim's feature documentary THE SQUARE (Egypt), and Sara Ishaq's short documentary KARAMA HAS NO WALLS (Yemen) have both been nominated for Oscars.

We're confident that, with your pledges, public awareness of A WORLD NOT OURS can grow and grab the attention of Academy members in 2015.

Helping us with your contributions would have greater and more important implications: raising awareness of the injustices of Ain el-Helweh and the plight of its residents.

Ain el-Helweh is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon and is home to 70,000 refugees cramped within 1 square kilometre of space. Nearly 300,000 Palestinian refugees reside in Lebanon, yet only two percent have work permits. They are shut out of most professions, and what few jobs they can find pay less than minimum wage. They have extremely limited access to health care and legal help, and property ownership is a pipe dream.

Our film helped Abu Eyad, the film's protagonist, relocate from Ain el-Helweh and off the streets of Greece to Germany, where he now lives and works.

The Oscars has a growing global viewership of several hundred million in more than 225 countries ­- imagine the level of awareness that it can bring to Ain el-Helweh?

"Flips storytelling and Mideast-Arab clichés on their heads...The Wonder Years in a refugee camp." - John Anderson, Variety

As they say, there is no free lunch. We've got gifts to go with every contribution, such as the following:

Physical and digital version of A WORLD NOT OURS poster

A physical and digital high-resolution poster

Mahdi's grandfather, a character in the film, looking like a boss

A limited edition Nakba FilmWorks t-shirt

(that's Mahdi's grandfather, a principle character in the film, looking like a boss)

More about this idea

Where and when can I see the film? At the moment, only at festivals and limited theatrical screenings like those in France, the UK and NYC. We are offering digital copies of the film in exchange for your contribution, but Oscars eligibility requirements mandate that we do not exhibit more than 10% of the film's running time during the run-up to our submission. Following this, we will deliver the digital copy of the film.

Why Aflamnah and not Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Good question! As much as we love those pioneers, we have chosen Aflamnah because we strongly value the communal support at the heart of its 'for-and-from-the-Arab-world' positioning, as it resonates with some of the themes of our film. The platform also allows us to adjust financial targets and extend campaign durations without paying a penalty

What else can I do to help? Spread the word! Here is how:

  • 'Like' our Facebook page and 'share' our posts and status updates on the campaign with friends
  • Follow us on Twitter, retweet our messages, and use the hashtags #AWNOoscars #oscars #academy awards #crowdfunding #palestine
  • Reach out to famous or popular people you know on Facebook and Twitter, and ask them to make a contribution or give us a shout-out on their social media platforms!

How can I contact you? If you have any questions about the film or campaign, you can reach us directly at campaigns@nakbafilmworks.com.

What is the funding for?

  • Screening space and showtime blocking at a theatre in Los Angeles
  • Mandatory advertising and press opportunities in at least one major highly competitive newspaper such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Weekly and Village Voice
  • Publicity and lobbying costs during the release and period when Academy members are considering nominations
  • DVDs and theatrical prints of the film
  • Travel expenses to help us promote the film on the ground

Thank you so much for your support, and we hope you see us at the Oscars!


Critics love A World Not Ours...

Hollywood Reporter: "...an engagingly accessible chronicle of a friendship, a family and a place."

Variety: "In its frank, mostly apolitical way, "A World Not Ours" makes a daring and effective effort to humanize those perpetual combatants [of the Arab-Israeli conflict]"

Unseen Films: "Woody Allen meets Kafka"

Documentary Edge: "Fleifel succeeds in telling an uplifting and truly funny film about hope in a hopeless world."

Exclaim.ca:  "Without getting preachy, A World Not Ours covers more views on the Palestinian situation than most films, documentary or narrative..."

NOW magazine: "Fleifel puts a human face on the despair of the exiled..."

Gulf News: "Fleifel grabs you from the very beginning with his narration and the viewer feels like he's right with him inside the camp."

Doha Film Institute: "This is personal documentary at its most powerful..."

...and check out the awards and nominations that we've received:

About Nakba FilmWorks

Nakba FilmWorks is a London based film production company primarily focused on the work of writer/director Mahdi Fleifel. Formed in 2010 by Fleifel and Irish born producer Patrick Campbell, Nakba FilmWorks successfully produced and released feature documentary A World Not Ours and has now begun work on follow-up projects including MEN IN THE SUN.

Stories tend to focus on issues of identity and belonging at the same time as eschewing established narratives of victim and perpetrator to focus on the people and personalities that inhabit the worlds which are explored. Humour, nostalgia, and tragedy are all important parts of the journey towards understanding.

Useful Links

94 supporters
$9,370 Pledged of $12,000 GOAL
0 Day(s) to go

This Idea's funding campaign is over


  • PLEDGE $10

    5 BACKERS. 95 rewards are available.

    You'll get a special thanks on the Aflamnah website!

  • PLEDGE $15

    9 BACKERS. 91 rewards are available.

    We’ll immortalize your name in our film with a ‘Thank You’ credit in the closing credits and grant you bragging rights that you helped expose Los Angelenos — and eventually, the world — to the people of Ain el-Helweh.

  • PLEDGE $30

    13 BACKERS. 47 rewards are available.

    You’ll get a crisp physical copy of the A WORLD NOT OURS poster, as well as a digital high resolution version (which, by the way, would make a wonderful Facebook profile pic!). We’ll also give you a ‘Thank You’ credit. Before you set the poster as your profile pic we recommend you photoshop your credit – IN BIG BOLD LETTERS -- in the credits section.

  • PLEDGE $45

    9 BACKERS. 11 rewards are available.

    You will get a limited edition, unlimitedly fashionable Nakba FilmWorks t-shirt, which is secretly a marketing trojan horse because people (but not too many people) will ask you what “Nakba FilmWorks” is and you’ll inevitably have to mention our movie. Plus you get that ‘Thank You’ credit, so you can still brag away (Note: Unisex! All sizes and a range of colours available!)

  • PLEDGE $50

    3 BACKERS. 17 rewards are available.

    It sucks that most of you haven’t seen our film (no worldwide distribution – yet!), but you can scratch that itch with two tickets to a theatrical screening of A WORLD NOT OURS in London, New York or Los Angeles. The film-makers might also be there too, in which case you should totally corner them for an autograph or awkwardly inquire about the dietary restrictions of their intern Scruffy the dog. (Note: airfare and accommodation is not included.)

  • PLEDGE $60

    19 BACKERS. 281 rewards are available.

    You’ll get a digital copy of A WORLD NOT OURS with loads of bonus material, such as never-before-seen footage, and a ‘Thank You’ credit! There’s no greater compliment to a filmmaker than a viewer wanting to own their baby. I can only think of inappropriate punchlines to follow up that sentence, so let’s skip to the next contribution. (Note: we won’t be able to send you the film until after our Oscar qualifying quest, as per the Academy’s restrictions.)

  • PLEDGE $100

    26 BACKERS. 24 rewards are available.

    The trifecta, hat trick, triple threat: you get a digital copy of A WORLD NOT OURS with loads of bonus material; one Nakba FilmWorks t-shirt; and a ‘Thank You’ credit.

  • PLEDGE $250

    6 BACKERS. 14 rewards are available.

    This is a special one: you’ll get a Palestinian handicraft from the Ain El-Helweh cultural centre. It’s like owning a prop from the movie! You’ll also get a digital copy of the film with bonus material; proof that Nakba FilmWorks is no one-trick pony in the form of digital copies of their latest short film XENOS (premiering in Berlin competition this February); and, of course, a ‘Thank You’ credit.

  • PLEDGE $500

    2 BACKERS. 0 rewards are available.

    You’ll get to meet the team behind the film, virtually or in the flesh. The Nakba FilmWorks posse will have a Skype or in-person discussion (subject to location) with you on anything related to A WORLD NOT OURS: experiences making the film, filmmaking process, cinematic influences, etc. You’ll also receive a digital copy of the film with bonus material, and their latest short film XENOS.

  • PLEDGE $1,000

    2 BACKERS. 0 rewards are available.

    Nakba FilmWorks will review your documentary treatment and/or script, and help reduce your chances of getting rejected by heartless film funds and soul-crushing financiers (if all else fails — crowdfund ;)). Nakba FilmWorks will gently, constructively provide you with written feedback and a 30-minute phone consultation. You also get a digital copy of the film with bonus material and the brand-new short film XENOS, which you may or may not want to compare your work to.

  • PLEDGE $3,000

    No backers yet. 2 rewards are available.

    A truly unique and potentially life-changing experience: a trip to Ain El-Helweh, Lebanon, where Mahdi will give you the chance to visit his childhood home and introduce you to some of his friends and family featured in the film. Also included is the digital copy of the film with bonus material and NFW’s short film XENOS. (Note: please contact us prior to contributing, as there are a few caveats concerning the visit. The trip will likely take place between April and June 2014, but this timeframe is flexible. (Note: airfare and accommodation not included).

  • PLEDGE $5,000

    No backers yet. 2 rewards are available.

    You don’t have to be a billionaire to buy your way into the film industry! You’ll get an Associate Producer credit on A WORLD NOT OURS; two tickets to a theatrical screening of the film in London, New York or Los Angeles; and an invitation to a post-screening event. (Note: airfare and accommodation not included.)

  • PLEDGE $15,000

    No backers yet. 1 rewards are available.

    MOVE OVER MEDICI! You’ll get the prestigious Executive Producer credit on A WORLD NOT OURS and sponsorship incentives for your company/brand; a dinner with the Nakba FilmWorks team; two tickets to a theatrical screening of the film in London, New York or Los Angeles; an invitation to an exclusive post-screening event; a digital copy of the film with bonus material and NFW’s short film XENOS; a Nakba FilmWorks t-shirt; a physical and digital poster of the film; a souvenir from the Ain el-Helweh cultural centre; AND our undying love, affection and friendship until the end of time, if not longer. (Note: please contact us for more information on sponsorship incentives and for NFW approval. Airfare and accommodation not included.)