Egyptian auteur Ibrahim El Batout (Winter of Discontent) will has begun production of a Cairo-set action thriller titled The Cat, which centers on the very topical human organ trafficking in Egypt, with Amr Waked (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) producing and attached to star.
Egypt’s recent political upheavals, which have left a law enforcement gap in the country, have reportedly allowed mob-led organ-trafficking rings to thrive.
Also attached to star are Palestinian actor Mohammad Bakri, Egyptian actress-model Sarah Shaheen, and Egyptian actor Salah Al Hanafy, who played the sadistic security officer in El Batout’s Winter of Discontent.
Toronto-based sales company Double Dutch International picked up world distribution rights to Winter of Discontent, which is set and filmed against the backdrop of the early days of the Egyptian revolution - the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January 2011, interweaving multiple stories including that of a political activist, a journalist and a state security officer.
Double Dutch shopped the controversial film to the Cannes market this week, where it screened for international buyers/distributors, but no word on its USA prospects yet.
The film has drawn some controversy because of its raw and honest handling of the sensitive and explosive subject matter it tackles.
Like Winter of Discontent, The Cat is produced by Waked and Al Hanafy’s Zad Communication & Production, which they launched after the 2011 Tahrir Square uprising to make films depicting Egypt from new, uncensored angles.
In addition to The Cat, another one of Zad's upcoming projects is The Exile by Atef Hetata, which is set to shoot in October in Luxor, Egypt.
Egyptian filmmaker Atef Hatata is set to direct the romance/political drama set against the backdrop of the real-life production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida at the 3,500-year-old Pharaonic Temple in Luxor in 1987.
The reportedly $2.2 million project will "explore suppression and political corruption under the rule of deposed President Hosni Mubarak through the tale of a female French ceramics expert who goes to Egypt to study the work of a traditional master craftsman."
As if that weren't intriguing enough, the film will comprise of several sub-plots, including "the woman’s affair with a local police officer and religious tensions between Christians and Muslims" in Egypt.
It's going to be a good year for Batout's newly-formed Zad production company. All intriguing-sounding features that I hope travel.