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Netflix Steps Up Middle East Production With Third Arabic Original ‘Paranormal’

Netflix is stepping up production in the Middle East with its third and most ambitious Arabic original, titled “Paranormal,” with young Egyptian director Amr Salama (“Sheikh Jackson”) on board as director and showrunner.

“Paranormal,” based on bestselling Arabic horror books by late Egyptian author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, is being jointly produced by Salama and prominent Egyptian indie producer Mohammed Hefzy, whose Film Clinic shingle is known internationally for churning out a stream of edgy titles such as “Microphone,” “Sheikh Jackson” and “Yomeddine.”

The series, set in the 1960s, marks the streaming giant’s first foray into a drama produced in Egypt, which is historically the Arab world’s production powerhouse. “Paranormal” depicts the adventures of lead character Dr. Refaat Ismail, a hematologist who finds himself “faced with a series of supernatural events.”

“We are excited to continue our investment in Middle Eastern productions by adapting the highly acclaimed ‘Paranormal’ novels into a thrilling new series,” Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix’s VP of international originals, said in a statement. “We’re also pleased to collaborate with prominent producer Mohamed Hefzy and director Amr Salama, whose creative vision we look forward to bringing to our global audience.”

“I’m proud to be working with Netflix on bringing to life the ‘Paranormal’ series, which I hold dear to my heart,” said Hefzy who also serves as president of the revamped Cairo Film Festival.

“I’m also excited to be cooperating again with longtime collaborator and friend, director Amr Salama,” Hefzy added. “Together with Netflix, we aim to present a show of international quality and that lives up to the promises and ambitions of Egyptian and Arabic drama.”

“Paranormal,” which is expected to shoot in Egypt, is the third Middle Eastern Netflix original series following “Jinn,” a coming-of-age teen drama with supernatural elements that was shot in Jordan and will drop June 13, and “Al Rawabi School for Girls,” a Jordan-set high-school drama produced with a female Arab cast and crew.

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