Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (“Bad Boys for Life,” “Black”), the rising Moroccan-born Belgian filmmaking duo, are set to direct “Rebel,” a nuanced portrait of a family torn apart over a little Muslim boy’s future.
Wild Bunch International (“Les Miserables”) and CAA Media Finance have boarded the project, which tells the story of Nassim, a 13-year-old Moroccan boy from Molenbeek, who is searching for an identity after his father’s death. While his mother Leila anxiously tries to keep him away from Karim, his older local gangster brother, Nassim needs to decide what the rest of his life will look like, even at this young age.
“Rebel” is being produced by Caviar (“The Rider,” “Black”), in co-production with Beluga Tree (“Frankie”), Calach Films and Le Collectif 64.
The movie will mark the helmers’ return to filmmaking in Belgium after having directed “Bad Boys for Life,” which so far ranks as the highest-grossing film of 2020.
“Rebel” will be headlined by newcomer Amir El Arbi, as well as Aboubakr Bensaihi (“Black”) and Lubna Azabal (“Incendies”). The movies will be driven by music and dance, with a topnotch key crew including acclaimed choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (“Anna Karenina”), cinematographer Robrecht Heyvaert (“Bad Boys for Life”) and composer Hannes De Maeyer (“Black”).
“’Rebel’ is a true passion project,” said El Arbi and Fallah. “It is deeply personal for us to be able to tell this story about our generation, and those looking for an identity. We’ve assembled a powerful creative team and are excited to finally bring it to the big screen.” El Arbi and Fallah co-wrote the screenplay with Jan Van Dyck and Kevin Meul.
El Arbi and Fallah broke through internationally with their film “Black,” a Romeo & Juliet-type drama set in the world of organized crime in Belgium, which won the Discovery section at Toronto in 2015. Their other credits include “Gangsta,” for which they are developing the sequel, as well as the pilot and episodes of the FX series “Snowfall.”
Bert Hamelinck and Dimitri Verbeeck are producing. Diana Elbaum from Beluga Tree, Jesus Gonzalez from Calach Films, and Marc Dujardin from Le Collectif 64 are co-producing; Robin Kerremans, Clarissa Vermaak, and Sacha Ben Harroche are executive producing.
“Rebel” is being backed by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), VRT, Kinepolis Film Distribution, Telenet, Screen Flanders, Caviar Film Financing and Creative Europe Media.
Wild Bunch Intl. is handling international sales and will introduce the project to buyers at the virtual Cannes market.
El Arbi and Fallah are represented by CAA, Management 360, and Karl Austen. CAA Media Finance will represent the film’s North American rights.