EXCLUSIVE: Egypt’s Zawya Cinema and Misr International Films are joining forces to launch arthouse distributor Zawya Distribution.

The new outfit will focus on the growing number of independent Egyptian films and launches with titles such as Nadine Salib’s Mother Of The Unborn, which won the Fipresci award at Abu Dhabi Film Festival and IDFA’s Pete Wintonick award; and Dina Hamza’s The Past Will Return, which won the Independent Shabab Foundation award at Luxor African Film Festival.

Headed by Youssef Shazli (director) and Ahmed Sobky (head of sales), Zawya Distribution will handle the release of films across theatrical, TV and VOD platforms. It will also work on film festival consulting, marketing and publicity.

The company’s initial slate also includes Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk’s Out On The Streets, which played in Berlin’s Forum Expanded; and omnibus film The Mice Room, which played at Dubai and Sao Paulo film festivals.

“Collaborating closely with filmmakers, Zawya Distribution aims to create an alternative distribution model that fits within the competitive film market and ensures a wider audience reach of local arthouse and independent films,” said Shazli.

The first and only arthouse theatre in Egypt, Zawya Cinema screens both local and international arthouse films, including shorts, documentaries, features and experimental work.

Founded by Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, Misr International Films was one of the earliest platforms of alternative cinema in Egypt.