Marwan Hamad (pictured) is set to direct an ambitious project that will examine the origins of Islamic terrorism.

The Good News Group, the outfit behind Egyptian hit The Yacoubian Building, is in Cannes to announce ambitious, generation- spanning project Assassins, which will explore the origins of  modern Islamic terrorism.

The $10m $12.3m (€8 -10m) film is partly about Mohammed Atta who played a key role in planning the September 11 terrorist attacks but also partly about Egyptian writer and poet Sayed Qotb, a leading intellectual in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood who died in 1966, and about 11th century Persia missionary Hassan Al-Sabah.

Al-Sabah lived during the crusades and was the founder of  Hashashin, considered by many as the first terrorist group. Qotb lived through the Second World War (with the British occupation in Egypt) and the beginnings of the Arab/Israeli conflict. He called for an extreme Jihadist (holy war) ideology.

Commenting on the project, director Marwan Hamed said: “The three characters are very well-educated, smart and ambitious characters. No-one expected them to turn into such terrorists.”

The film, which has been scripted by Wahid Hamed, has around half of its budget already in place. The Good News Group is putting it together as a co-production between the  Middle East and European partners. It will shoot in Arabic, English and German with an Egyptian and international cast. The aim is to shoot in late 2011.

“This project is important for us because it is the first time that it comes from our part of the world,” Hamed said. “This time, try to listen to our voice. People like us are jammed in the middle between fundamentalism and this other look that we face from outside.”