Paris-based Pacha, the first sales company dedicated to Arab world content, has snapped up international rights to “My Brother the Devil” and “The Last Friday.”
Produced by London’s Wild Horses Film Co. and Rooks Nest Entertainment, “Devil” is the debut of Egyptian-Welsh helmer-scribe Sally El Hosaini. It won cinematography in Sundance’s World Dramatic Competition. The gangster movie/same-sex love tale is set in a gritty London underworld.
“Friday” turns on a down-on-his-luck taxi driver scraping together funds for essential surgery. From tyro director-writer Yahya Al Abdallah, based out of Jordan’s Amman, “Friday” won San Sebastian’s Cinema in Motion rough-cut showcase, then the Special Jury Prize, actor and music at December’s Dubai Festival.
“Devil” screens in Berlin’s Panorama, “Friday” in Forum.
Pacha chairman Frederic Sichler, former Studiocanal CEO, believes “Friday” points to consolidation in Arab world filmmaking.
“With the Jordan Film Commission supporting the regular production of films, Jordanian cinema is really on its way up,” Sichler said.
Amman’s Rula Nasser produced “Friday.” “There’s a generation of new producers emerging in the Arab World,” Sichler said, citing Nasser, Mohamed Hefzy (a Pacha partner who takes an exec producer credit on “Devil”) and Tunisia’s Habib Attia among others. “They represent a big piece of the Arab world cinema puzzle.” Pacha also reps Hanan Abdalla’s Panorama player, “In the Shadow of a Man,” a portrait of women in the midst of Egypt’s revolution.
“The major change in Arab society in the last years is the entry of educated women into the workforce,” Sichler said.