Abdisalam Aato

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Abdisalam Aato
عبد السلام عاتو
Abdisalam Aato.jpg
Born mid-1970s
Mogadishu, Somalia
Residence Columbus, Ohio
Nationality American
Ethnicity Somali
Occupation Film director, producer, entrepreneur, media consultant
Years active 2000s–present
Religion Islam

Abdisalam Aato (Somali: Cabdisalaan Caato, Arabic: عبد السلام عاتو‎) (born mid-1970s) is a Somali-American film director, producer, entrepreneur and media consultant. He is the founder of Olol Films, a production company at the forefront of the Somaliwood movement within the Somali film industry.

Personal life[edit]

Aato was born in the mid-1970s in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.[1] After the civil war broke out in the early 1990s, he moved to Kenya, where he lived for over three years.[2]

In 1996, Aato traveled to the United States at the invitation of his brother.[1][2] He initially resided in Georgia with his entire family, prior to his father's death. Aato studied Media there at a local scholastic institute.[1] In 2001, he relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where he is currently based.[2]

Aato is married. He describes his wife as his driving inspiration.[1]


While in Georgia, Aato began his professional career as a broadcaster and radio announcer at a community television station. He would write screenplays a minute at a time, subsequently moving on to scripting full-length feature films.[1] Aato later founded Olol Films, a Columbus-based production company that is at the forefront of the Somaliwood movement within the Somali film industry.[2]

In 2003, he released Rajo ("Hope"), his first feature-length Somali film. The movie was a relatively large production, with a helicopter and luxury vehicles hired for the purpose. It premiered to full houses on Thanksgiving at Studio 35 and a Minneapolis theater.[1]

As of 2007, Aato has produced, written and directed nine feature films and documentaries in his Cleveland Avenue studio. Two other productions were also in development.[2] He works closely with his wife on all of his film projects, wherein she provides consultation and advice on areas in need of improvement.[1]

Additionally, Aato launched Bartamaha, a multimedia website dedicated to Somali music, short films, news and culture.[2] He likewise hosts the weekly television and online program the Wargelin Show, which focuses on Somali politics and society.[3] As of 2013, Aato also serves as a Senior Media Advisor to the Federal Government of Somalia.[4]


  • Rajo (2003)
  • Xaaskayga Araweelo (2006)
  • Ambad (2011)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Mbatiah, Suleiman (April 4, 2011). "On a Mission to Market Somaliwood". On Islam. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Somaliwood: Columbus Has Become A Haven for Somali Filmmaking". The Other Paper. April 19, 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Wargelin Show". Bartamaha. Retrieved 18 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Abdisalam Aato". Retrieved May 18, 2013.