Ile de France, Good News team up

Pair plan France-Egypt screenwriting workshop

MADRID — The Paris-region Ile de France Film Commission and Egypt’s Good News Group will co-organize the first France-Egypt screenwriting workshop.

The first session will take place in Paris in June, a second in December in Cairo. Four Egyptian screenwriters will attend, selected by a committee of experts; France’s Union-Guild of Screenwriters will select four Gallic scribes.

France and Egypt have had a co-production treaty since 1983, which was used by producer Humbert Balsan to make films by celebrated Egyptian director Yousef Chanine.

“Egypt has a long filmmaking tradition, some very good producers, and can be a source of interesting projects and, for French producers, open up the Middle East,” said Ile de France Film Commission executive director Olivier-Rene Veillon.

Egypt will also be the invited country at the Capital Regions for Cinema co-production meeting in Cannes, which is organized by Ile de France, Rome-Lazio and Madrid film commissions, and the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.The joint initiative comes as Good News Group chief exec Adel Adeeb is structuring a slate of 10 international co-productions, all to be made with Europe.

For Good News, the strategy reps a move away from Egyptian event pics — such as Marwan Hamed’s hit “The Yacoubian Building” and his followup “Ibrahim the White,” which underperfed — toward more internationally-skewed projects. Adeeb is also attempting to modernize Egypt’s film biz. Screenwriting is a natural first step.

“By hook or by crook, we have to change our market and our industry,” Adeeb told Daily Variety during the Berlin Film Festival.

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