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Strand Releasing has acquired all North American rights for A.B. Shawky’s road comedy “Yomeddine” from CAA and Wild Bunch.

“Yomeddine” has been announced as the official Egyptian entry for foreign language film at the Academy Awards. The deal was done between Jon Gerrans of Strand Releasing, Eva Diederix of Wild Bunch, and CAA Media Finance.

The film had its world premiere in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It centers on Rady Gamal, who portrays a man cured of leprosy who travels across Egypt to search for long lost relatives. Ahmed Abdelhafiz plays an orphaned adolescent who joins him. The film won the Francois Chalais Prize in Cannes, which is dedicated to life affirmation.

In his review for Variety, Jay Weissberg wrote: “Anchored by lead Rady Gamal’s warm-hearted charisma, the film is a sweet, solid first feature marbled with genuinely touching moments that make up for times when the siren call of sentimentality becomes a little too loud.”

Gerrans said, “We’re thrilled to be distributing this human comedy and hope it enlightens people.”

“Yomeddine” is the feature debut from Shawky who also wrote the screenplay. It was the only directorial debut in Cannes competition this year. Additionally, the film was also his graduation thesis for NYU Tisch.

The film was produced by Desert Highway Pictures in collaboration with Film Clinic. Strand plans for an early 2019 release.