Sheikh Jackson (2017) - News Poster

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Dubai: Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic Boards Abu Bakr Shawky’s ‘Yomeddine’ (Exclusive)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Prominent Egyptian independent producer Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic has come on board as a co-producer of Egyptian-Austrian filmmaker Abu Bakr Shawky’s upcoming feature film “Yomeddine,” a road movie about a middle-aged man raised in a leper colony who embarks with a sidekick and a donkey on a journey across Egypt to try and reconnect with his family.

A long-gestating passion project which is now in post, “Yomeddine” is Shawky’s feature film debut and stems from his short “The Colony” that chronicles tales of the residents of the Abu Zaabal leper colony in Egypt.

Shawky, who studied political science and filmmaking in Cairo, is an alumn of Nyu’s graduate film program.

The pic’s protagonist, named Beshay, is played by Rady Gamal a non-professional actor who suffers from leprosy and is a resident of the leper colony. According to “Yomeddine” promotional materials Beshay leaves the confines of the leper colony
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Oscars: A Muslim's Michael Jackson Obsession in Egypt's 'Sheikh Jackson'

Oscars: A Muslim's Michael Jackson Obsession in Egypt's 'Sheikh Jackson'
Director Amr Salama had a hunch that Sheikh Jackson might stoke a fire or two in his native Egypt. Not that it would ever stop him (his previous films have dealt with AIDS and sectarian strife), but in dealing with the somewhat sensitive subject of hard-line Islam, he managed to — at least initially — draw criticism from both sides in a country where two recent revolutions and the dramatic rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood have plowed deep divisions through society.

"People are so polarized when it comes to Islamists in the Middle East," says Salama. "Both sides...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Middle East Hopes to Pull Off Another Oscar Win

Middle East Hopes to Pull Off Another Oscar Win
With last year’s winner, Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman,” hailing from Iran, Oscar handicappers should be sure to give the Middle Eastern titles close scrutiny this time around. Among the region’s 11 submissions are several films likely to be highly competitive in the foreign-language category. These include the 2017 Venice prize winners “Foxtrot,” from Israel, helmed by Samuel Maoz (“Lebanon”) and “The Insult,” from Lebanon, directed by Ziad Doueiri, whose first feature “West Beirut” was also a Lebanese submission.

The lineup also includes a rare title from Syria, the documentary “Little Gandhi” about Syrian peace activist Ghiyath Matar. Another title with an unusual pedigree is Afghanistan’s “A Letter to the President,” a rough-edged feminist drama about a female Kabul police chief, helmed by Roya Sadat, the country’s first distaff director to emerge in the post-Taliban era.

Could this finally be Israel’s year? The country has submitted films for the foreign-language Oscar since 1964, receiving 10 nominations
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Afm: Buoyant German Sales Companies Hit Mart With Full Slates

Germany’s muscular films sales sector is in full bloom at this year’s American Film Market, with lineups that include the latest in German-language films, genre titles and world cinema.

Arri Media Intl. is set to make a splash with the screenings of two German genre titles, Bogdana Vera Lorenz’s dystopian thriller “Lockdown” and Oliver Kienle’s psychological thriller “Four Hands.” The company is also presenting Swiss family pic “Mr. Moll and the Chocolate Factory.”

Arri Media Intl. has been focusing on co-financing and acquiring genre films, including elevated horror pics and thrillers, over the past two years, says sales and acquisitions manager Julia Pahl.

Global Screen is likewise embracing genre with a number of action-packed titles, including actor-director Ken Duken’s high-octane thriller “Berlin Falling,” in which a driver (Duken) picks up a hitchhiker, played by Tom Wlaschiha of “Game of Thrones” fame, only to discover that his passenger is a crazed terrorist with a
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Tiff & Nyff & Middleburg Wrap-Ups

Another autumn whizzes by and with it a look back on the festivals we've covered. Here's everything we reviewed from Tiff and Nyff and Middleburg this year in case you missed it. Reviews from Jason Adams, Manuel Betancourt, Nick Davis, Sean Donovan, Murtada Elfaldl, John Guerin, Chris Feil, and Nathaniel R

Tiff 2017

the films

The Breadwinner • Darkest Hour

Death of Stalin • Disaster • Downsizing •

Euphoria • Film Stars Dont Die in Liverpool •

First They Killed My Father •

The Florida Project • Happy End • I, Tonya •

The Killing of a Sacred Deer • Kings •

Lady Bird • Lodgers • Mademoiselle Paradis

Mary Shelley • mother! •

Never Steady Never Still • On Body and Soul •

The Racer and the Jailbird • Revenge •

The Seen and Unseen • The Shape of Water

Sheikh Jackson • Thelma •

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri •

Tigre • Western • The Wife • Zama

parties, events, randomness

greatest party photo ever • "I'm Armie" •

Helena Bonham-Carter • mother! moods •

portraits from the fest • Podcast
See full article at FilmExperience »

Egypt Oscar Entry ‘Sheikh Jackson’ Getting U.S. Release Via Cleopatra Entertainment

Egypt Oscar Entry ‘Sheikh Jackson’ Getting U.S. Release Via Cleopatra Entertainment
Exclusive: Cleopatra Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Sheikh Jackson, the Michael Jackson-themed pic that Egypt has selected as its entry into the Oscar Foreign Language Film race. The movie was an official selection at last month’s Toronto Film Festival, and now an early 2018 theatrical release is planned. Co-written and directed by Amr Salama, the film follows El Feshawy, who plays an Islamic cleric obsessed with Jackson as a teenager. After hearing…
See full article at Deadline »

Oscars: Record 92 Countries Submit for Foreign-Language Race

Oscars: Record 92 Countries Submit for Foreign-Language Race
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Thursday that 92 countries have submitted films for consideration in this year’s foreign-language Oscar race. The number marks a new milestone and record for the category.

Among the first-time entrants are Haiti, Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal, and Syria.

Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” won the prize at February’s Oscars ceremony. The director refused to attend the ceremony in protest to Donald Trump’s travel ban on a number of predominantly-Muslim countries. In his stead, Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari accepted the honor.

High-profile contenders in this year’s race include Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father” from Cambodia, Michael Haneke’s “Happy End” from Austria, Sebastian Lelio’s “A Fantastic Woman” from Chile, Robin Campillo’s “Bpm (Beats Per Minute)” from France, Samuel Maoz’s “Foxtrot” from Israel, Joachim Trier’s “Thelma” from Norway, and
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Oscars 2018: The Academy Lists Record 92 Foreign Language Contenders

Oscars 2018: The Academy Lists Record 92 Foreign Language Contenders
The final deadline for submitting each country’s film for consideration for the foreign-language Oscar was October 2. Last year 85 were finally deemed eligible by the Academy; this year the number is a record 92. Haiti, Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal and Syria are first-time entrants. These films are vying for the initial shortlist of 9, and final five nominations to be announced on January 23. See the final list below.

Read More:Oscar Announces Changes for Foreign-Film Voting: Now Simpler! (Sort Of.)

The frontrunners include Sweden selected Ruben Östlund’s hilarious Palme d’Or-winner “The Square” (October 27, Magnolia Pictures), an art-world satire shot in majority Swedish with some English from stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, and Dominic West, thus giving Östlund another shot after “Force Majeure” was a surprise 2015 Oscar omission.

Germany’s choice, Fatih Akin’s “In the Fade” (December 27, Magnolia Pictures), won Best Actress for Diane Kruger at Cannes.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Oscars 2018: The Academy Lists Record 92 Foreign Language Contenders

Oscars 2018: The Academy Lists Record 92 Foreign Language Contenders
The final deadline for submitting each country’s film for consideration for the foreign-language Oscar was October 2. Last year 85 were finally deemed eligible by the Academy; this year the number is a record 92. Haiti, Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal and Syria are first-time entrants. These films are vying for the initial shortlist of 9, and final five nominations to be announced on January 23. See the final list below.

Read More:Oscar Announces Changes for Foreign-Film Voting: Now Simpler! (Sort Of.)

The frontrunners include Sweden selected Ruben Östlund’s hilarious Palme d’Or-winner “The Square” (October 27, Magnolia Pictures), an art-world satire shot in majority Swedish with some English from stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, and Dominic West, thus giving Östlund another shot after “Force Majeure” was a surprise 2015 Oscar omission.

Germany’s choice, Fatih Akin’s “In the Fade” (December 27, Magnolia Pictures), won Best Actress for Diane Kruger at Cannes.
See full article at Indiewire »

Egyptian Director Amr Salama on ‘Iraqi Sniper,’ His Riposte to ‘American Sniper’

Egyptian Director Amr Salama on ‘Iraqi Sniper,’ His Riposte to ‘American Sniper’
Egyptian director Amr Salama has a bent for tackling hot-button issues that spring forth from his personal experiences. His most recent drama, “Sheikh Jackson,” is about a conservative Muslim cleric tormented by a burning passion for Michael Jackson. Now Salama is developing “Iraqi Sniper,” a riposte to “American Sniper” that’s intended to lend perspective to Mustafa, the Iraqi insurgent in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning movie. Salama spoke to Variety during the inaugural edition of the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt, where “Sheikh Jackson” was the opener following a Toronto bow.

Simply put, it sounds like with “Iraqi Sniper” you want to tell another side of the “American Sniper” story. Is that right?

I really hope from the bottom of my heart that this will be my next movie, but it’s actually one of several projects I have in the pipeline. And I want to make it very clear that it’s not an anti-
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Tiff Review: ‘Sheikh Jackson’ Revolts Against Religious Duality

The thing I could never wrap my head around, religious-wise, is the idea of strict right and wrong. As a Catholic it’s somewhat easy as far as sin and repentance. You’re allowed to do a lot as long as you feel remorse and guilt enough to learn your lesson. But other religions are more stringent than Ten Commandments and more vehement in how each version of its worship follows its specific edicts. There’s no better place than the Middle East to see this in action—and I don’t mean Isis versus Islam. I’m talking traditional versus modern. Both exist simultaneously in a country such as Egypt. You have the latter’s westernized clothing and attitudes alongside the former’s veil and prayer. To choose one is to forsake the other.

This revolt against duality is behind Amr Salama’s Sheikh Jackson and the young imam
See full article at The Film Stage »

Toronto Film Review: ‘Sheikh Jackson’

Toronto Film Review: ‘Sheikh Jackson’
Though Amr Salama’s “Sheikh Jackson” is about a conservative young imam who finds his faith shaken by a troubling obsession with the late King of Pop, it isn’t really the cross-cultural crowd-pleaser that conceit (and the film itself) initially promises. Instead, this is primarily a low-key character study about a man in internal torment, from which his eventual liberation is as murky as it is underwhelming. Egypt’s feature Oscar submission thus dangles something fun, only to deliver something sober, neither angle well-realized enough to make a satisfying whole. All told, it’s a well-crafted but middling drama whose attention-catching gimmick only gets in the way.

Khaled (Ahmad El-Fishawy) is a respected junior cleric in 2009 Alexandria. But he’s increasingly distracted, neglecting wife and child, slipping up while leading prayers at his mosque. An outer air of pious chastisement hides a long-suppressed turmoil bubbling to the surface, triggered by news of the sudden death of
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Egypt’s El Gouna Fest Kicks off Freshman Edition

Egypt’s El Gouna Fest Kicks off Freshman Edition
On the banks of the Red Sea, in a man-made Egyptian oasis better suited to snorkeling than cinema, a new Middle Eastern festival is hedging its bets on the future of Arab film.

The inaugural El Gouna Film Festival will kick off Sept. 22, bringing with it a polished lineup of both Middle Eastern and global cinema and a slew of roundtables, meet-and-greets and networking opportunities between emerging young filmmakers and industry heavyweights.

At El Gouna’s core, says co-founder Intishal Al Tamini, is a commitment to humanitarian content, and the use of film as a bridge for dialogue and creative intellect.

Those are lofty goals for a freshman festival in a region mired by conflict and marked by decades of censorship, but the odds that lay stacked against the fest, Al Tamini says, have actually helped draw a wellspring of international support and cooperation.

“When you take the Middle East and North Africa, you
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'Sheikh Jackson': Film Review | Tiff 2017

'Sheikh Jackson': Film Review | Tiff 2017
Michael Jackson enjoyed an unusually intense cult following in the Arab world, his albums circulating like underground samizdat in regimes that banned western pop music. In later life, fleeing legal and financial problems at home, the troubled superstar briefly found sanctuary in the Gulf state of Bahrain, where he reportedly looked into converting to Islam. The singer's ghostly presence hangs heavy over Sheikh Jackson, an agreeably off-the-wall drama from Saudi-born Egyptian writer-director Amr Salama, which Egypt has chosen as its Academy Awards contender in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Salama, who previously won festival awards for Asmaa (2011) and...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Forest Whitaker to Be Feted by Egypt’s New El Gouna Film Festival; Lineup Announced (Exclusive)

Forest Whitaker to Be Feted by Egypt’s New El Gouna Film Festival; Lineup Announced (Exclusive)
Rome – Oscar-winning actor-director Forest Whitaker will be feted with a lifetime achievement award by Egypt’s new El Gouna Film Festival, which will open its first edition later this month with the Middle Eastern premiere of Egyptian director Amr Salama’s “Sheikh Jackson.” The closing film will be Chinese artist-filmmaker Ai Weiwei’s “Human Flow,” about the global refugee crisis.

Whitaker, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland,” was praised by the El Gouna’s artistic director, Intishal Al Timimi, for playing roles with “significant social and human dimensions.” Whitaker is expected to attend the Sept. 22-29 festival to receive the award during its closing ceremony. The slogan of the fest’s inaugural edition is “Cinema for Humanity.”

Located in the high-end El Gouna Red Sea resort and backed by Egyptian telecom billionaire Naguib Sawiris, the ambitious fest is likely to shake up the volatile
See full article at Variety - Film News »

International Newswire: ‘Paddington’ Mobile Game to Be Released

In the International Newswire today, a mobile game linked to the second ‘Paddington’ movie is readied for release; Disney unveils Latin American boxing bio-series ‘El Cesar’; piracy hems in music biz growth; and Chile sends ‘A Fantastic Woman’ to the Oscars.

Gameloft, Studiocanal and The Copyrights Group are teaming to develop “Paddington Run,” the official game of the second “Paddington” movie.

Featuring Paddington leading “a frantic race through the streets of London, trading his famous duffle coat for other clothes as players make their way through new levels,” “Paddington Run” will be made available for iPhone, iPad, iPad touch, Android and Windows Phone.

It underscores two core strategies, stressed by Vivendi head Vincent Bollore, at Vivendi and Studiocanal, part of the Vivendi-owned Canal Plus Group. One is synergy: Gameloft and The Copyrights Group are both Vivendi companies.

The other is the 360-degree exploitation, Hollywood-style, of franchises. Released in 2014, the Studiocanal-financed, distributed
See full article at Variety - Film News »

International Newswire: ‘Paddington’ Mobile Game to Be Released

In the International Newswire today, a mobile game linked to the second ‘Paddington’ movie is readied for release; Disney unveils Latin American boxing bio-series ‘El Cesar’; piracy hems in music biz growth; and Chile sends ‘A Fantastic Woman’ to the Oscars.

Gameloft, Studiocanal and The Copyrights Group are teaming to develop “Paddington Run,” the official game of the second “Paddington” movie.

Featuring Paddington leading “a frantic race through the streets of London, trading his famous duffle coat for other clothes as players make their way through new levels,” “Paddington Run” will be made available for iPhone, iPad, iPad touch, Android and Windows Phone.

It underscores two core strategies, stressed by Vivendi head Vincent Bollore, at Vivendi and Studiocanal, part of the Vivendi-owned Canal Plus Group. One is synergy: Gameloft and The Copyrights Group are both Vivendi companies.

The other is the 360-degree exploitation, Hollywood-style, of franchises. Released in 2014, the Studiocanal-financed, distributed
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Oscars: Egypt Selects 'Sheikh Jackson' for Foreign-Language Category

Oscars: Egypt Selects 'Sheikh Jackson' for Foreign-Language Category
Egypt has selected Amr Salama's Sheikh Jackson, a drama about a bearded hardline Islamic cleric with a secret passion for Michael Jackson, as its candidate for consideration for the best foreign-language film Oscar.

Salama received news of his country's Oscar bid pick Monday while attending the Toronto International Film Festival, where Sheikh Jackson is set to have its world premiere.

"I’m thrilled and honored to be recognized,” Salama said in a statement. "My aim was to be honest from the beginning and I wanted to cross borders with this film and subject. I believe we have done just...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Toronto’s Diverse Array of Films From Africa Paint Bigger Picture of Continent

Toronto’s Diverse Array of Films From Africa Paint Bigger Picture of Continent
A young Zambian girl banished to a camp for exiled witches, a Congolese singer forced to hustle on the streets of Kinshasa to save her son and an Egyptian imam whose devout lifestyle is thrown into turmoil by the death of Michael Jackson, form part of the rich tapestry of African lives on display in Toronto this year.

The result, according to Tiff Africa and Middle East programmer Kiva Reardon, points to “an abundance of riches” in filmmaking from around the continent.

“The hope is that audiences won’t only respond to the film they’re watching, but find their curiosity piqued and begin to dig deeper into films from the regions,” she says.

Among the highlights will be “Razzia,” acclaimed Moroccan auteur Nabil Ayouch’s kaleidoscopic portrait of five lives touched by a single event on the streets of Casablanca, which world premieres in the fest’s Panorama section.

Chadian
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Toronto Hidden Gem: How Michael Jackson Inspired an Egyptian Filmmaker's Personal Tale

Toronto Hidden Gem: How Michael Jackson Inspired an Egyptian Filmmaker's Personal Tale
A bearded hardline Islamic cleric with a secret passion for Michael Jackson — the idea seems like a goofy Ben Stiller comedy waiting to happen (and immediately offend). But it’s not actually as far-fetched as it sounds. In fact, when the concept for Sheikh Jackson — in which a strict Islamist and former King of Pop fan in Egypt suffers from a crisis of faith and identity after Jackson’s death in 2009 — was first suggested to director Amr Salama, it struck an intensely personal chord.

“The moment I heard it I thought, ‘Wow, this is like me in the...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »
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