Casting of Capernaum


“Without the perfect cast, the film will not happen.”

With these words, Nadine Labaki challenged the young team including Ghina el-Hachem as the casting coordinator and Cynthia Sawma and Christine Youakim as the casting associates, called upon to conduct along with Jennifer a savage street casting, four months before the start of production.

Jennifer’s Street Casting Journey

It was a daunting challenge, akin to peeling back the layers of a city, revealing its hidden pain beneath the glittering shopfronts. Sabra, Nabaa, Cola, Tarik El Jdide… Jennifer Haddad’s daily journey, from early morning until nightfall, remained unwavering. Over four months, she encountered nearly a thousand children, walking the streets alone, filming, and engaging with them.

Zain Alrafeea was one of the first she met, and an immediate connection told Jennifer that she had found her lead. Her instinct rarely wavered, and it guided her to more exceptional talents over the months.

The quest to find the perfect cast for “Capernaum” was arduous, involving late-night explorations, encounters with danger, and a relentless search. Jennifer’s dedication and intuitive knack for spotting the right individuals led to an extraordinary ensemble, including Yordanos Shiferaw, who miraculously reappeared after being lost to fate.

Their journeys converged in the making of a remarkable film, a testament to Jennifer’s unyielding pursuit of authenticity in storytelling.

How a Group of First-Time Actors Got Cast in an Oscar Hopeful

Check out this article on my casting work by backstage

From Street, to Screen, to The Red Carpet

Syrian Refugee Zain Al Rafea, and Ethiopian Migrant Worker, cast by Jennifer Haddad, make it to the Red Carpe.

Jennifer Wins “Best Casting Ensemble” and “Best Casting Director” at Lebanese Movie Awards

Jennifer with Capernaum Cast at the Lebanese Movie Awards 2019.

Capernaum Main Actor Zain Al Rafea Wins Best Actor at different festivals

Check out this article tracing Zain’s journey here

Capernaum’s first time actor Zain Al Rafea lands role in Marvel’s “The Eternals”

Check out Zain in “The Eternals” Trailer

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