×

Cannes: Egypt’s Film Clinic Bows Dubai-Based Company (EXCLUSIVE)

Egypt’s Film Clinic, the production company known for its wide range of fresh Arab film and TV fare, has forged a pact with Dubai-based private equity fund Fortress Capital Investments Group to launch Fortress Film Clinic in Dubai.

The move not only opens up new opportunities for Arab directors, but also potentially for English-language projects, and certainly for international co-productions with the Arab world.

Fortress Film Clinic, which will produce, develop and distribute a slate of film and TV projects in the Arab and international markets, marks the first film venture of this type set up between an oil-rich fund in the UAE, where the film industry is in its infancy, and Egypt, which has a storied cinematic past and churns out most of the region’s movies despite the country’s turbulence and financial woes.

Up until now oil money investments in movies have been mostly in Hollywood product.

The fund’s starting capital is close to $25 million, which is not peanuts, considering that budgets in the Arab world are much lower than in the U.S.

Current plan is to produce five or six films per year over the next two years.

The new joint venture “should become a pretty big player in the region,” said Film Clinic topper Mohamed Hefzy (pictured) who noted that roughly 60% of the resources will go to making “quality films that can travel,” while a portion of the remainder will be invested on TV content, including “Ramadan-type TV series.”

Fortress Film Clinic’s first two titles seem to have those elements.

One is “Arab Idol,” by Oscar-nommed Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (“Paradise Now,” “Omar”). It’s the true inspirational tale of how “Arab Idol” winner Mohammed Assaf became a golden boy from Gaza. The other is Gaza-set dramedy “Catch the Moon,” by Palestinian director Sameh Zoabi, about a young Palestinian named Halim whose father whimsically commits to providing him and his future bride a Mercedes Benz as dowry, only to realize it’s impossible due to the current Israeli blockade.

Hefzy added that Fortress Film Clinic’s focus will not be limited “just to production.” It will also venture into various other media ventures that will be revealed at a later time.

Hamed Mokhtar, managing partner at Fortress Capital Investments, enthused about the new collaboration in a statement. “The vision we have is shared, and that is to create a Middle Eastern studio and production powerhouse focused on developing new talent, quality production and strong distribution throughout the Pan Arab region and beyond.”

A slate distribution partnership with a prominent Middle East distributor will be announced soon.

More Film

  • Durban Film Festival 2019 / Copyright

    South African Creatives Grapple Over Copyright Amendment Bill

    DURBAN–The South African government is planning to update its four-decade-old copyright legislation, but what that means for filmmakers was up for debate during a contentious and often heated session at the Durban FilmMart this week. While the Copyright Amendment Bill awaits the signature of President Cyril Ramaphosa, industry stakeholders remain divided over how the proposed [...]

  • 'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office

    'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office With Dazzling Debut at $180 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” has jolted the North American box office back to life with an opening weekend in the $180 million range, estimates showed Saturday. “The Lion King” will record the second-best opening of 2019 — and could replace “Incredibles 2,” which launched last year with $182.7 million, as the ninth biggest North American [...]

  • 'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in

    'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in Hospital After Stabbing

    Hugely popular Hong Kong actor, Simon Yam was stabbed while on stage Saturday at a presentation in Zhongshan, Guangdong province in southern China. He is in hospital recovering. The incident happened at the opening of a branch of the Beijing Easyhome building materials company, where Yam was a guest. A man was seen rushing on [...]

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • TSOM-MASK

    Director Sara Gouveia on ‘Looking At Resilience Through Art’

    DURBAN–The Mapiko dance of Mozambique’s indigenous Makonde people was long used as a tool for social commentary. But during the colonial era it became an act of political resistance, prompting the Portuguese to stamp it out during Mozambique’s 10-year war for independence. Decades later, the art has been revived as a celebration of freedom. For [...]

  • Don Edkins

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content