Why is Omar stuck in Limbo?

MUBI, the global streaming service and theatrical distributor, is pleased to announce that Ben Sharrock’s critically acclaimed and highly anticipated British debut feature LIMBO will be released in cinemas in the UK and Ireland on 7 May 2021.

Writer/Director Ben Sharrock, producer Irune Gurtubai, and lead actor Amir El-Masry have been selected as part of BAFTA Breakthrough 2021. Gurtubai has also been nominated in the Breakthrough Producer category and El-Masry in the Best Actor category in the 2020 BIFA Awards.

Written and directed by Ben Sharrock and starring Amir El-Masry as Omar, the film formed part of the Cannes 2020 selection and has received widespread acclaim following its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, its European Premiere at the San Sebastian International Festival, where it won the Youth Jury Award, and the BFI London Film Festival earlier this year, where it was runner-up for the Audience Award. LIMBO has recently won the Golden Pyramid award for Best Film at Cairo International Film Festival along with the Henry Barakat Award for best artistic contribution and also the FIPRESCI critics’ prize. The film also picked up Best Film and Best Screenplay at Macau Film Festival.

LIMBO is a wry and poignant observation of the refugee experience, set on a fictional remote Scottish island where a group of new arrivals await the results of their asylum claims. It centres on Omar, a young Syrian musician who is burdened by his grandfather’s oud, which he has carried all the way from his homeland.

Reflecting the complexity of the movement of people across borders has been a long-held passion for the Scottish writer-director, who spent time working for an NGO in refugee camps in southern Algeria, and living in Damascus in 2009 shortly before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. There, he formed a network of friends whose personal stories inspired the film.

Amir El-Masry is joined by Vikash Bhai, Ola Orebiyi, and Kwabena Ansah. Sidse Babett Knudsen and Kais Nashif round out the supporting roles. LIMBO also features non-actors in supporting roles and as extras, including refugees who have made their home across Scotland and locals from the Outer Hebrides.

The film is produced by Irune Gurtubai for Caravan Cinema alongside Angus Lamont (‘71, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS), and is financed and developed by Film4, Screen Scotland and the BFI, with funds from the National Lottery. Executive producers are Julia Oh and Daniel Battsek for Film4, Ross McKenzie for Screen Scotland, and David Segal-Hamilton and Lizzie Francke for the BFI. Protagonist Pictures is handling worldwide sales. Film4 retains UK free TV broadcast rights.