The Egyptian writer-director’s feature debut, which is being repped by the boutique Athens-based production company and sales agent Heretic, has also sold to China (Huanxi Media), Italy (Wanted) and Greece (Cinobo). As previously announced, the film will also be distributed in France by Dulac Distribution.
Set in contemporary Egypt, “Feathers” follows the journey of a woman with three children whose idealist husband is turned into a chicken by a magician in a magic-trick gone awry. An absurd series of coincidences ensues, and a mother whose mundane life has been dedicated to her family must move heaven and earth to bring back her husband and ensure their survival.
“‘Feathers’ started from a very simple idea I had six years ago. It is the story of a man who turns into a chicken and there’s serious evidence of it; it is neither a joke nor a conspiracy,” El Zohairy said in a director’s statement. “Through this parable, I wanted to capture a part of the difficult life an ordinary Egyptian family leads.”
He continued: “Having to face this absurd situation, the members of this family react without really thinking. But they’re actually stuck, exactly because they are anti–heroes, nobody cares about them or their issues. I feel very close to that situation and therefore, from the moment the idea of making the film came to me, I became completely obsessed.”
“Feathers” was produced by Juliette Lepoutre from Still Moving (France), in co-production with Mohamed Hefzy from Film Clinic (Egypt), Shahinaz Al Akkad from Lagoonie Film (Egypt), Derk-Jan Warrink and Koji Nelissen from Kepler Film (The Netherlands), Giorgos Karnavas and Konstantinos Kontovrakis from Heretic (Greece), and Verona Meier.
“‘Feathers’ takes a clever, absurdist conceit and spins it into a revealing, poignant and wonderfully told story. It’s a daringly original work and we are thrilled to be releasing it in the U.S.,” said Grasshopper’s Ryan Krivoshey.
Wanted’s Anastasia Plazzotta commented: “We’re excited to distribute the astonishing debut of an author with a luminous career.”
El Zohairy has worked as an A.D. alongside acclaimed Egyptian directors such as Yousry Nasrallah. His short film “The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 365” was the first Egyptian film to be selected for Cannes’ Cinefondation.