Good News inks for int’l projects

Co. looks to create 'an international school of cinema'

The Good News Group is going global. The Egyptian shingle behind the most successful Arab pic of the year “The Yacoubian Building” is looking to open the Mideast film market up to international co-productions, as well as encouraging Arab filmmakers to work more closely with their European and American counterparts.

“Cinema can help bring people together. We want to create an international school of cinema,” says Adel Adeeb, Good News’ head of production.

Good News has inked a deal with French shingles including Canal Plus, TFN, MK2, Reso and Bac Films to preem a new French pic in Egypt every fortnight at Good News’ theaters. The agreement is a two-way street — “Yacoubian” opened in France on Aug. 23 and has taken in more than 90,000 admissions, the best Gallic performance by an Egyptian pic in recent years.

Also in the pipeline are planned co-productions on Good News’ slate, including “Sinbad” and helmer Marwan Hamed’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to “Yacoubian.” The aim is to bring together international thesps, technicians and locations.

“For us it’s not about how much the co-producer invests. It’s about them being committed to distribute the film in their territory and feeling they have ownership with us,” Adeeb says.

In addition to its own slate of projects, Good News plans to provide production and location services to 16 English-language pics planning to lens in Egypt next year. The shingle has also held talks with thesps including Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and, most intriguingly, Robert De Niro to star in the upcoming “Al Qaeda,” about the rise of the terror group, due to start shooting sometime next year.

“We want these two worlds to meet and to show all the complexities and points of view,” Adeeb says.

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