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Good News to go international

Egyptian company sets up co-productions

Egyptian shingle Good News Group is looking to go international.

The company is setting up a series of co-productions with European partners seeking greater cooperation with the Egyptian film biz. Good News Group chief exec Adel Adeeb is putting together a slate of 10 international co-productions — two each planned with the U.K., France, Germany, Belgium and Italy — that will see the joint financing and production of multilingual projects that take place between Egypt and Europe.

Move is largely a response to the current state of the Egyptian film biz, which has seen auds eschewing a number of star-driven, big-budget dramas in favor of lower-profile pics from up-and-coming thesps and directors.

Good News Group has been affected by the depressed nature of the Egyptian market. After making a splash locally and internationally in 2006 with its debut pic “The Yacoubian Building,” which world-preemed at Berlin, the company has had mixed fortunes. A number of high-profile projects have disappointed, including “Yacoubian” helmer Marwan Hamed’s soph effort “Ibrahim the White,” which underperformed at last year’s Egyptian box office and failed to get much traction in the international sales market.

Good News execs are now hoping to turn their fortunes around by working with international producers and applying that know-how to modernizing the local film biz. The company is lobbying the Egyptian government to adopt European film biz staples such as state-supported incentives, tax credits and subsidies to jumpstart the industry. The political situation in Egypt — where presidential elections are set to be held next year — is crucial, given that the country is likely to have a new president for the first time since 1981, with current prexy Hosni Mubarak likely to step down.

“By hook or by crook we have to change our market and our industry,” said Adel Adeeb. “This change will happen even if it takes time.”

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