Image Nation Abu Dhabi has come on-board Oscar-nommed Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s “The Idol” about Palestinian pop singer Mohammed Assaf who went from being a kid in a refugee camp in Gaza to winning the second season of “Arab Idol” in 2013 and thereafter was named a goodwill ambassador for peace by the United Nations.
“The Idol,” which will have it world preem on September 11 in Toronto as a Special Presentation, stars a quartet of actors from Gaza — Qais Attallah, Hiba Attallah, Ahmad Qassim and Abdalkarim Abubaraka — along with Tawfeek Barhom, Nadine Labaki, Ashraf Barhoum and Ali Suliman. The film is written by Abu-Assad and Sameh Zoabi.
Abu-Assad received Oscar nominations for best foreign language film in 2006 for “Paradise Now” and in 2013 for “Omar.”
The film was produced by Ali Jaafar and Amira Diab. Seville’s Anick Poirier is an executive producer. Cactus World Films’ Maya Sanbar and Sawsan Asfari are co-producers alongside Fortress Film Clinic’s Mohammed Hefzy and 03 Productions’ Fadi Ismail. Also co-producing are Majdal Productions’ Baher Agbariya, September Film’s Pim Hermeling and Key Films’ Hanneke Niens and Hans de Wolf.
Besides “Idol” Image Nation also has “He Named Me Malala,” by Oscar- winner Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) in Toronto.
Seville International has sold “Idol,” for which buzz is mounting, in more than 20 markets ahead of its world premiere in Toronto on September 11th in the Special Presentations section. Pic will segue to the London Film Festival
“Idol” was partially filmed on location in Gaza, the first feature film to be shot there in decades, along with Jenin, Amman, Beirut and Cairo. It is produced in association with the Doha Film institute and the support of the Netherlands Film Fund.
MBC is co-producing and handling the film’s release in the Middle East and North Africa. The movie is also co-produced by Enjaaz, a Dubai Film Market initiative.