Hollywood-based Chinese film financier Peter Luo and Oscar-winning producer Donna Gigliotti (“Shakespeare in Love”) have boarded upcoming female-led Syrian war drama “Nezouh,” directed by Soudade Kaadan, whose debut “The Day I Lost My Shadow” won the 2018 Venice Film Festival’s Lion of the Future.
“Nezouh,” which is Kaadan’s followup to “Shadow,” is set against the backdrop of the Syrian conflict in Damascus where a young woman named Zena and her family reside in a zone that is about to be bombed. Her father takes the firm stance to stay home. With little time left, Zena and her mother Hara face a very tough decision.
Kaadan’s new film was shot in Turkey, produced by Kaadan, Yu-Fai Suen, and Marc Bordure (“Gloria Mundi”), and lensed by ace French cinematographer Hélène Louvart (“Pina,” “Happy as Lazzaro”).
“Nezouh,” which is being presented to distributors and festival programmers at the Cairo Film Festival’s Cairo Film Connection co-production market, has also landed distribution deals in China (Stars Collective), France (Pyramide) and across the MENA region (MAD Solutions).
Luo, whose Starlight Media backed “Crazy Rich Asians,” launched the Stars Collective last year to support emerging diverse filmmakers around the world and enlisted Gigliotti as one of the program’s mentors.
Luo in a statement called Kaadan “precisely what we’re looking for at Stars Collective, and emblematic of the visionary storytellers we strive to work with and support.”
“Seeing Donna involved [in ‘Nezouh’] is particularly gratifying as her guidance and input as one of the truly elite producers in the business is priceless,” he added.
Stars Collective, since being launched in August 2020 as a film and talent development fund to promote diversity in moviemaking, is now supporting about 150 filmmakers and actors around the world from a diverse mix of nationalities, ethnicities and backgrounds, most of whom are female.
They recently wrapped production on “Jamojaya” by U.S. actor/director Justin Chon (“Blue Bayou”), which sees rising Indonesian rapper Rich Brian make his acting debut and marks the first of three projects that Stars Collective will produce this year, and the only one directed, executive produced, and starring Asian and Asian-American talent.