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Morocco’s Oscar Entry, ‘Adam,’ Scooped by Strand Releasing for U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to Maryam Touzani’s critically acclaimed feature debut, “Adam,” which had its world premiere at Cannes in Un Certain Regard.

Adam” is also the official entry for Morocco in the international feature film race at the Oscars. Represented in international markets by Berlin-based Films Boutique, “Adam” has been on a laureled path since its Cannes debut. It won the New Director’s Prize Roger Ebert Award at Chicago and the best first feature at the Philadelphia Film Festival, among other prizes. It also played at big international festivals such as Toronto and Karlovy Vary and will next screen at the AFI Fest.

The film stars Lubna Azabal as a woman who runs a modest local bakery from her home in Casablanca, where she lives alone with her 8-year-old daughter. Their lives are transformed by the arrival of a young pregnant woman searching for work, who forms a strong bond with the mother and daughter.

“‘Adam’ is a film anchored in a social context and reality that seem far away,” said Touzani, who wrote the script in collaboration with Nabil Ayouch, who also produced the film. “But for me, it is a story that speaks of that which is human in each and every one of us, that which brings us together, regardless of the place we come from.”

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She added: “Feeling this link, this bond, through the contact with the audience as I’ve been travelling with my film has been a beautiful emotion.”

The deal was done between Jon Gerrans of Strand Releasing and Jean Christophe Simon of Films Boutique at AFM.

“We are thrilled to have Maryam’s film. It is filled with genuine warmth and speaks volumes about the universality of women’s issues,” said Marcus Hu, the co-president of Strand Releasing.

Ayouch, one of Morocco’s best-known filmmakers and producers, said: “Strand Releasing [has] a genuine understanding of the film, and that is vital for us. Maryam has made a powerful film, told in an exquisitely subtle manner, and for us it was important to feel that it was within the right hands.”

The film has already secured distribution in major territories with top companies, such as Ad Vitam in France, Longride in Japan, Karma Films in Spain, Movies Inspired in Italy, Sharmill in Australia, Cineart in Benelux, Filmcoopi in Switzerland, Fokets Bio in Sweden, Arteplex in Brazil, Mirada in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, and Zaza Films Distribution in Morocco.

“Adam” is produced by Ayouch at Ali n’ Prods., and co-produced by Les Films du nouveau monde and Artemis.

Based in Culver City, Calif., and run by Gerrans and Hu, Strand Releasing will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a collection of 30 original short films by directors such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Rithy Panh, Gregg Araki, Alain Guiraudie, John Waters and Cindy Sherman, among others. Titled “30/30 Vision, Three Decades of Strand Releasing,” the collection will go on a national tour this month.

Strand Releasing’s upcoming films include Christophe Honore’s “On a Magical Night” and Ina Weisse’s “The Audition.”

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