A Somali boy is torn between the pull of piracy and the mundane subsistence of fishing.
The production values of Asad are strong and the characters interesting—maintaining an upbeat attitude and hint of humor even with the constant threats to survival. However, the story line lacks drive, and the funny but dissonant end offers no answer to the premise of this live action short.
Most of the actors in Asad are Somalian refugees director Bryan Buckley (known for his Super Bowl ads) met in a Kenyan refugee camp after they were forced from their country. The leads, 12- and 14-year-old brothers Ali and Harun Mohammed, were illiterate; and Buckley is now paying for their schooling in Cape Town, South Africa, where the film was shot.
He is also working with the governments of South Africa and the United States, trying to get the boys the necessary visas (complicated by their refugee status), so they can attend the Academy Awards ceremony.
Asad may not be award worthy, but it seems that there should be a special gold statue—or perhaps a halo—somewhere for Bryan Buckley.