EXCLUSIVE: Egypt’s burgeoning independent film scene will be the subject of a new documentary being produced by Amr Waked and Salah Al-Hanafy’s Cairo-based Zad Communication.
Entitled The Cat’s House, the medium-length work revolves around the shoot of Ibrahim El-Batout’s organ-trafficking thriller The Cat over the summer. Zad’s upcoming slate also includes Ossama Fawzy’s Rosy Black, which is in development, and Atef Hatata’s The Exile.
Talking about The Cat’s House, Al-Hanafy said: “The ongoing struggle between the distributors and independent producers will be the main focus in the documentary.”
A raft of independent film companies – lead by the likes of Zad and Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic – have sprung up in the wake of the revolution in 2011. Although garnering praise on the festival circuit, recent indie productions such as Winter Of Discontent and Coming Forth By Day have had a tough time finding screens at home.
Young filmmaker Bahaa Talees, who was on the set of The Cat, is directing The Cat’s House. Zad is covering 50% of the budget and looking for co-production partners to fund another eight days of shooting and post-production.
It will combine footage from the set of The Cat and interviews with independent filmmakers and one of the major distributors as well as archive footage of Egyptian classics.
Zad’s second feature-length production The Cat is currently in post-production. The suspense-filled thriller revolves around a Cairo gangster who goes head-to-head with a trafficking mobster. Zad plans to start showing it to sales agents in February.
El-Batout’s debut feature Winter of Discontent, which is Egypt’s Oscar submission, will screen in the Palm Springs Film Festival in January.
Fawzy’s Rosy Black is a fantastical tale about an Arabic translation of a work by Italian astronomer and philosopher Galileo Galilee that exerts a strange power over its readers. Mustafa Zikry wrote the script. Zad is aiming to shoot the film in March and April. “You can’t pitch it in one line. You have to read the script… It’s sort of an Arabic Tim Burton film,” said Waked.
Zad is continuing financing on Hatata’s $2.2m The Exile, which already had Paris-based production house Mact attached. Set against the backdrop of a real-life production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida at the Pharaonic Temple in Luxor in 1987, the film revolves around a female French ceramics expert who goes to Egypt to study the work of a traditional master craftsman.