×

Ziad Doueiri Follows ‘The Insult’ With ‘Ghost Element’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Ziad Doueiri, whose Lebanon-set “The Insult” is competing at Venice Film Festival, is set to direct “Ghost Element,” a supernatural thriller that will mark his most ambitious film to date.

Reteaming Doueiri with his producer Jean Brehat at Paris-based banner Tessalit Prods., “Ghost Element” is based on “Le Tambour d’angoisse,” a novel written by B.R. Bruss and published by Marabout in 1973. The film will partly shoot in English.

Samuel and Victor Hadida at Metropolitan Filmexport, which worked with Brehat on Rachid Bouchareb’s “Belleville Cop,” are co-producing the film and will be distributing in France. They’re also taking international sales rights.

The story, adapted to present times, centers on a group of 12 scientists from different nationalities, ethnic backgrounds and religions, who are sent on a doomed mission to the Australian desert in order to find Thorium, a precious fuel. As the mission goes wrong, the group gets stuck in the desert and finds refuge in a cave. But strange things start happening and the scientists start dying after suffering from hallucinations or supernatural visions. Each death creates new tensions within the group and triggers latent conflicts between the scientists, some of whom are from the U.S., Syria and Israel.

Brehat said the film will different from other supernatural thrillers such as “The Thing” in that the fantastic elements are suggested rather than seen but it will be as suspenseful.

Brehat said he was confident Douieri had the skills to deliver commercial fare due to his training in the U.S. Douieri started his career working as first camera assistant on Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown.”

While “Ghost Element” is meant to be Doueiri’s most mainstream film, it will be politically-minded, in line with Doueiri’s films “The Insult” and ‘The Attack,” said Brehat.

“The Insult” (repped by Indie Sales) turns on a trivial incident between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee that degenerates into a highly publicized trial and ends up dividing Palestinians and Lebanese Christian communities. “The Attack,” meanwhile, centered on a renowned Arab surgeon living in Israel who discovers that his wife is the perpetrator of a suicide bombing.

More Film

  • Neve CampbellVariety's Power of Women NY

    Neve Campbell Seeking SAG-AFTRA Board Seat on Matthew Modine Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    Neve Campbell is running for a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Campbell is best known for starring as Sidney Prescott in the “Scream” movies and as LeAnn Harvey in “House of Cards.” Her credits include “Skyscraper,” “Wild Things” and “The Craft.” Election ballots will [...]

  • Themba-Bhebhe

    Durban FilmMart’s Themba Bhebhe on Diversity: ‘We Are At a Crossroads’

    DURBAN–A new thematic strand at this year’s Durban FilmMart, Engage @ DFM, offers a series of think tanks and in-depth discussions concerning diversity and de-colonial approaches to and models for filmmaking. To head up the new initiative, the DFM tapped guest curator Themba Bhebhe, who has led the Diversity & Inclusion initiative at the last two editions of [...]

  • 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 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content