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‘Sun’ secures distribution deal

el-Batout's doc to be released in November

LONDON — Egyptian helmer Ibrahim el-Batout has finally secured a distribution deal for his award-winning pic “Eye of the Sun.”

Pic, which won best film at the Taormina film fest earlier this year, is a kaleidoscopic journey from Baghdad — with real-life footage actually shot by el-Batout on location while he was working as a docu journo — to an impoverished Cairo neighborhood.

Isaad Younes’ distrib-exhib chain Al-Arabiya will release the pic in November. Despite its predominantly Egyptian subject matter and the fact that its coin, cast and crew are all Egyptian, “Eye of the Sun” has been classified as a Moroccan pic by Egyptian authorities by virtue of the fact that el-Batout completed his post-production there. The decision has by seen by some as punishment after el-Batout bypassed the censor’s office in the country when making the pic, which takes a wryly sardonic look at government corruption and social unrest in Cairo. The ruling means that the pic can only be released on eight prints, the maximum number a foreign film is allowed to open on in Egypt.

El-Batout is prepping his next and biggest-budget feature yet, an adaptation of Essam Youssef’s controversial novel “Quarter Gram,” about a gang of Egyptian junkies.