LIMBO directed by Ben Sharrock
LIMBO directed by Ben Sharrock

Focus Features acquired Limbo, the English-language directorial debut of Ben Sharrock (Pikadero). The film is written and directed by Sharrock, and stars BIFA Nominee Amir El-Masry (Industry, Jack Ryan, The Night Manager).

The critically acclaimed film received two nods on BAFTA’s longlist for Outstanding British Film and Sharrock for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. It has also previously garnered nominations including Best Actor, Breakthrough Producer, Best Cinematography and Best Casting at the 2020 British Independent Film Awards, was part of 2020’s Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, the San Sebastian International Festival where it won the Youth Jury Award, and the BFI London Film Festival where it was runner-up for the Audience Award. Limbo has also 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 centers on Omar (El-Masry), 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 Sharrock, 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 (The Duke of Burgundy, Borgen) and Kais Nashif (Tel Aviv on Fire) 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.

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