El Batout The Cat
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Egyptian auteur Ibrahim El Batout (“Winter of Discontent”) will this week start shooting Cairo-set action thriller “The Cat,” about human organ trafficking in Egypt, with Amr Waked (“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) producing and attached to star.

“Cat” has a topical hook. Egypt’s recent political upheavals have left a law enforcement gap in the country, allowing mob-led organ-trafficking rings to thrive, according to reports.

Also attached to star is Palestinian Mohammad Bakri (“Private”), Egyptian actress-model Sarah Shaheen, and Salah Al Hanafy, who played the sadistic security officer in El Batout’s “Winter of Discontent,” among Egypt’s first post-revolution pics.

“Discontent” will be sold by Canada’s Double Dutch at the Cannes Market.

Like “Winter,” “Cat” is produced by Waked and Al Hanafy’s Zad, which they launched after the 2011 Tahrir Square uprising to make pics depicting Egypt from new, uncensored angles.

Zad has also inked with Gallic producer Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre (“Lemon Tree”) who has boarded “The Exile” by Atef Hetata, Youssef Chahine’s longtime assistant, set to shoot in October in Luxor. “Exile,” set in the 1980s against the backdrop of a production of “Aida” in Luxor, turns on an incident that sparks Christian-Muslim tensions with present-day ramifications.

Waked will star as a Muslim cop who falls in love with a French set decorator who is a Coptic Christian. Casting is under way for a Gallic star to board “Exile,” the rare case of a co-production between Egypt and France from script stage.

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