Best Friend Forever Nabs Kamir Aïnouz’s ‘Honey Cigar’ Co-Produced by Dardenne Brothers (EXCLUSIVE)

Brussels-based company Best Friend Forever has acquired Kamir Aïnouz’s promising feature debut “Honey Cigar” which was developed with the support of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and is co-produced by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, the Palme d’Or-winning directors/producers.

Set in Paris in 1993, the film follows Selma, 17, who lives in a bourgeois and secular Berber family. When she meets Julien in college, she realizes for the first time the impact of patriarchal rules on her intimacy. While Selma discovers the strength of her own desire, fundamentalism takes over her country and her family starts to crumble.

“Honey Cigar” is being produced by French veteran producer Christine Rouxel (“Houba! On the Trail of the Marsupilami”) and Marie-Castille Mention Schaar (“Heaven Will Wait”). The movie is being co-produced by the Dardennes and Malek Ali-Yahia, as well as French star Dany Boon.

Best Friend Forever will unveil the exclusive first footage of the film at Berlin’s European Film Market. The cast includes newcomer Zoé Adjani, as well as Amira Casar (“At Eternity’s Gate,” “Call me by your Name”), Lyès Salem (“Abou Leila”). Now in production, the film was developed with the support of the Rawi and the Beaumarchais foundation. “Honey Cigar” brings together a top-notch crew, including French cinematographer Jeanne Lapoirie (“Benedetta”), editor Albertine Lastera (“The Midwide”) and sound mixer Mélissa Petitjean (“Michael Kohlhaas”).

“The film portrays a woman’s body awakening in a new, very visceral way, while being totally open to the audience,” said Martin Gondre, Best Friend Forever co-founder.

“Kamir’s fighting spirit, coupled with such an experienced and talented artistic team, will surely put together one of the year’s most ambitious French debut feature,” added Gondre.

Paname Distribution will release the French-speaking film in France during the second semester of this year.

Best Friend Forever’s Berlin slate includes the French dance documentary “If It Were Love” by Patric Chiha in the Panorama section, “Los Conductos” by Camilo Restrepo in the Encounters section, as well as Radu Jude’s Uppercase Print” and Matthew Rankin’s “The Twentieth Century,” which premiered at Toronto’s Midnight Madness, in the Forum section.

The company will continue sales on Valentyn Vasyanovych’s “Atlantis”, which won prizes at Venice Orizzonti and Les Arcs festival; Nicolas Rincon Gilles’s “Valley of Souls,” winner of the Etoile d’or at Marrakech festival; and Juris Kursietis “Oleg” which premiered in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight; and Genevieve Duludes-De Celles’s “A Colony” which was won last year’s Crystal Bear in the Generation section in Berlin.

Launched last year in Cannes, Best Friend Forever is a sister company of Paris based Indie Sales.

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