Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

'He leaves a great void': tributes flow for Raja Dubayah, Palestine's 'first feature film sound engineer'

Prominent directors of the Arab world have shared tributes to Dubayah, who died in early June

Raja Dubayah is credited with being the first feature film sound engineer in Palestine.
Raja Dubayah is credited with being the first feature film sound engineer in Palestine.

Members of the Middle Eastern film industry are grieving the loss of a man credited as being the first feature film sound engineer in Palestine.

Raja Dubayah lost his battle with cancer on Thursday, June 4, at his home in Palestine.

He was widely known in the film industry, and considered one of the most prominent names in the recording and sound design fields in Palestinian cinema.

His IMDB page lists 45 credits, ranging from Arab Idol to Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir's Wajib.

Raja on set with the crew of 'Wajib', on which he served as associate producer.
Raja on set with the crew of Annemarie Jacir's 'Wajib', on which he served as associate producer.

Dubayeh was born in 1974 in the city of Nazareth. He began his career in music and sound as a composer, writer and bass player in Palestinian rock band Samana in 1994, and he went on to found another band, Nashaz, in 2006.

He entered the world of cinema in 2001, when he became involved in sound design and recording in documentaries in Palestine.

He went on to work on both Palestinian and international films, including Wajib, When I Saw You, also by Jacir, Amin Matalqa's The Rendezvous, Arab Idol, and many more.

As well as his work in cinema, he also worked as a composer for theatre productions.

Dubayah is survived by his wife, who said his loss "is a great pain".

Raja Dubayah died on June 4.
Raja Dubayah died on June 4.

"Raja is a partner at heart, in thought, and in work, and a person with a universal awareness, vision and life practice.

"Raja the musician, the sound engineer, the thinker, the spiritual man and the poet is unique, hardworking, strong, and sensitive. He was a great husband and father and a true master.”

Those who worked with him say Dubayah was widely credited with raising the standards of sound and music production in Palestine.

Jacir, who worked with him on numerous projects, said she "lost a very dear friend".

"Professionally, we lost part of the heart and soul of Palestinian cinema. Raja was an important pillar in all my films, not only in the field of sound, but also as a musician and a producer. He left behind a great void that cannot be filled.”

Jacir said Dubayah was known for his "tremendous professionalism" and his "belief in the quality of sound for every project he was involved in". He had built a local crew and become a mentor to aspiring sound engineers.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Hany Abu Assad said: "Raja’s passing is a great loss, not only as a colleague, but as a father, friend and a beautiful person in spirit and form.”

Updated: June 18, 2020 12:54 PM

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