Hany Abu-Assad’s ‘The Idol’ Sees Strong Sales Ahead of Toronto Premiere

Seville International has sold Hany Abu-Assad’s singing drama “The Idol” in more than 20 markets ahead of its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The movie is based on the story of Mohammad Assaf, the 2013 winner of “Arab Idol,” who managed to leave Gaza and make it to the Cairo auditions of the most popular talent show in the region.

The movie 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. Ali Jaafar and Amira Diab are producing.

Abu-Assad received Oscar nominations for best foreign language film in 2006 for “Paradise Now” and in 2013 for “Omar.”

Sales include France (TF1), Germany (Koch), Switzerland (Praesens), Benelux (September Films), Japan (New Select), Hungary (MTVA), Australia (Umbrella), Latin America (California Filmes), South Africa (Times Media) and China (Beijing Xiangjiang YiHua Films).

The 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. “The Idol” 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.

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