Media Luna has acquired the rights to Egyptian movie “Sheikh Jackson,” which centers on an Islamic cleric who revisits his teenage obsession with Michael Jackson.
The film, directed by Amr Salama, is set in 2009 when news of the singer’s death causes the cleric to undergo an identity crisis.
“We are proud to lead this young talented director to cross borders with such a delicate story, told with such an original tone and visionary in its way,” Ida Martins, CEO of Media Luna, said. “[The film] has the potential to touch the hearts of people no matter where they’re from as at the end of the day it is about being brave and learning how get to know and take care of oneself.”
The director said it is “a truly personal film” and “I don’t see myself doing another film where I can be that exposed and vulnerable telling a deeply personal story, a story that can be a wake-up call and an insightful look into the lives of the ‘other.’”
Ahmed El Feshawy plays the lead role, while rising young star Ahmed Malek plays the cleric as a teenager. Veteran actor Maged El-Kedwany stars as the cleric’s authoritarian father.
The film is produced by Mohamed Hefzy of Film Clinic, the Egyptian production powerhouse, which is behind films such as Un Certain Regard 2016 opener “Clash” by Mohamed Diab and “Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim” by Sherif el Bindary, as well as Hani Ossama of The Producers, the company behind the local hits “Excuse My French” and “Hepta.”
“We are very happy to be working with Media Luna. Their reputation and track record are excellent, but it’s their passion and belief in the film that made us instantly convinced that they were the best partner for the film. We look forward to a long and successful working relationship,” Hefzy said.
The deal was negotiated by Daniel Ziskind, the manager of Film Clinic in Europe.
The estate of Michael Jackson released the following statement on Monday regarding the project and others like it:
To clear up any confusion or misperceptions about unsanctioned Michael Jackson projects currently in the news — including a Lifetime television movie and an animated film script recently purchased by Netflix — the Estate of Michael Jackson does not license or permit the use of any rights it owns, including to Michael’s music, images, video and films, for use in unauthorized works seeking to exploit Michael’s legacy. The Estate itself has numerous projects in development, all of which respect, honor and celebrate Michael’s life and legacy along with his extraordinary artistry that touched fans throughout the world. When the executors are ready to announce them, they will. As Michael said countless times about his own work, the quality goes in before the name goes on.