Ben Sharrock’s second feature Limbo is a funny and poignant cross-cultural satire that subtly brings together the hardship and hope of the refugee experience.
Omar is a promising young musician. Separated from his Syrian family, he is stuck on a remote Scottish island awaiting the fate of his asylum request. Due to the plaster-cast on his arm, Omar cannot play his oud and instead wanders the epic landscapes searching for answers to a complex past and daunting future.
He may be stuck, but he is not alone. Omar and his new flatmates attend outrageously misjudged “cultural awareness” classes, hosted by eccentric locals. They binge the “Friends” boxset, debating the unanswerable question of whether Ross and Rachel were on a break and Freddie Mercury-obsessed Farhad tries to convince Omar to participate in the local open mic night.
Limbo deploys pitch perfect wit and crisp observation to shine a light on the hearts and lives of those at the centre of a crisis that most of us only experience through headlines.
FOLCS offered an advance screening of Limbo ahead of a Conversation with director, Ben Sharrock, and lead actors, Amir El-Masry and Vikash Bhai on April 28, 2021.
Ben Sharrock is an award-winning writer and director known for his unique sense of cinematic style and voice. His work has been described as touching, absurd and visually striking. Ben graduated from The University of Edinburgh with a degree in Arabic and Politics before attending Screen Academy Scotland, where he graduated with an MA Distinction in Film Directing followed by an MFA in Advanced Film Practice, for which he was awarded the Rafford Scholarship and the university medal for outstanding achievement.
Ben‘s debut feature film, Pikadero, premiered at San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2015, where he was nominated for Best New Director. Made with a mere £25,000, it went on to screen at over 40 major film festivals across the globe and win multiple awards including the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at Edinburgh International Film Festival, the FIPRESCI and Best Film at Kiev International Film Festival, Critics’ Choice in Zurich and the Cineuropa Award in Brussels, among others. The film was recognised by the Spanish Film Academy as an “outstanding contribution to independent Spanish cinema” and while Scottish, Ben has been hailed as “a new voice in Spanish cinema.” Pikadero has been sold to television domestically and theatrically distributed across Europe. Limbo is an industry backed and English language debut for Ben, supported by Film4, BFI and Screen Scotland.
Ben’s previous short film work won numerous awards, including two BAFTA New Talents for Best Drama and Best Writer for Patata Tortilla in 2015.
Ben is represented by Lark in the UK and CAA in the US.
Although a Londoner, British Egyptian actor Amir El-Masry actually made his film debut in Egyptian cinema, following advice given to him by screen legend Omar Sharif. That film, Ramadan Mabrouk Abou El Alamin Hamouda (2008), earned him the Best Young Actor award at the Egyptian Oscars at the tender age of 18.
After graduating from the UK’s famed LAMDA school in 2013, Amir quickly landed several high-profile roles. First, there was Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, Rosewater (2014), followed by parts in the multi award-winning series The Night Manager (2016) and the BAFTA-nominated The State (2017). In 2017, he took on a daunting challenge for Woody Harrelson’s Lost in London, performing in the first film to ever be shot and screened live in cinemas across the US and UK. A year later, he scored prime roles in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Amazon-Paramount co-production) and Age Before Beauty (BBC), and also made his feature film lead debut in The Arabian Warrior.
He recently filmed Industry for HBO; executive produced and directed by BAFTA winner Lena Dunham and a leading role in the upcoming Netflix series The One written by Howard Overman.
Vikash Bhai is a rising Indian actor making a strong name for himself on screen. He plays recurring lead Doctor Martin Shral in CW’s Pandora, created by Mark A. Altman and returning for its second season next year, and has recently guest starred in Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer-helmed Flack for Pop/UKTV. He also joins Netflix series The Stranger, based on Harlan Coben’s novels, in 2020.
Previous credits include History‘s Knightfall, BBC/AMC‘s McMafia, ITV‘s classic comedy, Birds of a Feather, and BBC‘s Doctors. He returns to the BBC next year in a standalone Casualty special.
Theatre credits include Night at the Bombay Roxy (Swamp and Dishoom), The Point of No Return, Like Enemies of the State and Bring the Bucket (all BeFrank Theatre) and Song of Exile and The Confetti Job for the Stratford Fringe Festival 2012.