IFC Films has acquired North American rights to “Huda’s Salon,” a drama written and directed by Hany Abu-Assad, the award-winning filmmaker behind “Paradise Now” and “The Mountain Between Us.”
The film is described as a “feminist thriller,” one that unfolds against the backdrop of geopolitical conflict. It follows Reem, a young mother married to a jealous man, who goes to Huda’s salon in Bethlehem for a haircut and an attentive ear. But this visit turns sour when Huda, after having put Reem in a shameful situation, blackmails her.
“Huda’s Salon” will have its world premiere as an official selection at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival in September. IFC Films is planning a release in 2022. The indie studio has two other films playing in Toronto, Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island” and Ruth Paxton’s “A Banquet.”
“To finally have the chance to work with IFC Films and to premiere the movie at TIFF is a dream scenario,” said Abu-Assad. “For me ‘Huda’s Salon’ looks deep into the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women in Palestine, set in two major locations with three characters. It’s a very delicate and special film and this is exactly what we need. For such a movie, you can’t get a better specialist than IFC Films and there is no better festival fit than TIFF.”
“Huda’s Salon” stars Ali Suliman, Maisa Abd Elhadi and Manal Awad. The film is produced by Amira Diab, Mohamed Hefzy and Abu-Assad from H&A Productions and Film Clinic, and it’s co-produced by Mad Solutions, Lagoonie Film Production, KeyFilm, Cocoon Films and Philistine Films in association with Doha Film Institute. It is executive produced by Memento’s Emilie Georges and Mathieu Delaunay.
Abu-Assad’s “Paradise Now” was the first Palestinian production to be nominated for best foreign language film at the 78th Academy Awards. It went on to win the Golden Globe for best foreign film, as well as a Spirit Award for best international film. Abu-Assad’s film “Omar” screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film festival and won the special jury prize and later went on to be nominated for the best foreign language film at the 86th Academy Awards.
“It is an honor to partner with such an established and well-respected voice in world cinema,” said Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films. “Hany’s ability to capture tenderness and a sense of authentic humanity in the face of adversity with very high stakes is his untouchable gift, and we are certain he will once again bring audiences to the edge of their seat with ‘Huda’s Salon.’”
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ Bocco and Aijah Keith, the company’s director of acquisitions. Memento International represented the filmmakers.