Tunisian auteur Mohamed Ben Attia’s timely drama “Dear Son,” about a Tunisian middle class couple with high hopes for the future of their only son who discover he’s left to join ISIS in Syria, has been sold by France’s Luxbox to China, Brazil, and Taiwan.
Co-produced by Tunisia’s Dora Bouchoucha’s Nomadis Images in tandem with Belgium’s Dardennes brothers, “Dear Son” is being well received in Cannes where it premiered in Directors’ Fortnight sealing Ben Attia’s status as a young Arab auteur with solid chops. “Son” follows Ben Attia’s absorbing first feature “Hedi,” about a young man liberated from family and societal obligations by a free-spirited woman, which won best debut and best actor honors in 2016 in Berlin and went on to travel widely, being released in more than 20 territories.
According to U.N. figures Tunisia has sent more young men to join the ranks of the Islamic State than any other country. This naturalistic drama, which is inspired by real events, tackles the subject in large part through the father’s detective-like travels to search for his disappeared son on the Turkish-Syrian border and his attempt to understand what prompted his progeny to join the Islamic State.
Luxbox in Cannes signed deals for “Dear Son” with Time Vision for China; Providence Filmes for Brazil; and Andrews Films for Taiwan.
“Distributors confirmed Mohamed Ben Attia’s talent as a subtle portraitist and have warmed to this superbly directed intimate family drama,” said Luxbox CEO Hedi Zardi.
The film will be released in France via BAC Films and will go out via Imagine in Benelux.