10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

The Idol (Ya tayr el tayer) (2016 Feature Film)

Hany Abu-Assad | United Kingdom, Palestine, Qatar, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates | 2015 | 100 min | Arabic | d.s.

This heart-warming feature by Abu-Assad (Oscar-nominated for Paradise Now and Omar) tells the true story of Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf, whose winning of Arab Idol in 2013 gave his homeland a rare taste of victory. With a heroic role for his feisty sister, who guides him through his childhood years.

Biopic of Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf, whose winning of the pan-Arab version of TV talent show Pop Idol in 2013 led to a moment of national pride and unity in Palestine, which finally had something to celebrate on the international stage. Palestinian-Dutch director Hany Abu-Assad (who received Oscar nominations for Paradise Now, 2005, and Omar, 2013) shows the tough circumstances in which Assaf, first as a little boy in Gaza, and later in his twenties, grows up to be a singer. The Israeli occupation continuously plays a role in the background, such as when Assaf and his friends – as well as his feisty sister who suffers from kidney failure – cycle along the separation barrier. From the wedding parties at which he makes his singing debut as a boy to the enormous pressure he feels during the final of Arab Idol, with all of Palestine glued to the tube, Assaf always embodies his country, yearning for freedom.

Place: CINEMA 2

Date: 9 April 2016

Time: 18:45

Duration: 1:45

Place: CINEMA 1

Date: 10 April 2016

Time: 13:45

Duration: 1:45

Year in



Hany Abu-Assad


Ehab Assal


Tawfeek Barhom
Kais Atallah
Hiba Atallah
Ahmad Qassim
Abdel Kareem Barakeh
Nadine Labaki
Saber Shreim


United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates


Eyas Salman




100 min


Ali Jaafar
Amira Diab

Production Company

Idol Film Production LTD
Cactus World Film

Production Design

Nael Kanj


Seville International


Hany Abu-Assad
Sameh Zoabi

Year of Production


Hany ABU-ASSAD (1961, Israel) studied Engineering in the Netherlands from 1981 to 1987 and worked on TV programs about immigrants. In 1990 he founded Ayloul Film Productions with the Palestinian filmmaker Rashid Masharawi. He directed his first feature film, The Fourteenth Chick, in 1998. His films Paradise Now (2005) and Omar (2013) were both nominated for an Academy Award and the latter was also awarded the Special Jury Prize of Un Certain Regard in Cannes. The Middle East plays a central role in his work.



To Whom It May Concern (1991, short), Paper House (1992, short), Het 14e kippetje/The Fourteenth Chick (1998), Nazareth 2000 (2001, doc), Al qods fee yom akhar/Rana’s Wedding (2002), Ford Transit (2004), Paradise Now (2005), Do Not Forget Me Istanbul (2011, co-dir), The Courier (2012), Omar (2013), Ya tayr el tayer/The Idol (2015)