Man in the Mirror, a short documentary by Western Sydney filmmaker, Ali Mousawi, that chronicles the life of an Arab asylum seeker from Iran turned Michael Jackson impersonator, will have its world premiere at the 12th Annual Arab Film Festival. The documentary follows Abbas, who became a Michael Jackson impersonator after he was first told he looked like the iconic King of Pop in a Darwin detention centre.
Director Ali Mousawi first met Abbas through a friend, and states, “I was extremely excited because he is exactly like Michael Jackson!” Abbas has achieved much fame for his impersonation, but coming from the Ahwaz community, an Arabis speaking minority, he has faced criticism from his own family for this transformation.
Abbas himself says that, despite his loneliness and isolation, he finds joy in performing for people because “everyone loves Michael Jackson!” Abbas travelled thousands of miles to come to Australia and has crafted a new identity for himself based around Michael Jackson. The money he has gained from performances has been used to pay for plastic surgery on his nose to look more like the pop icon.
Man in the Mirror is Mousawi’s third film, and has already screened alongside feature film Theeb at the end of the Sydney leg of the festival on 16th August. In Melbourne and Canberra, the documentary will screen with Ghadi. The dates are below: