Distributor and exhibitor Marrakech Spectacles has picked up Moroccan rights for Jordanian director Fadi G. Haddad’s romantic comedy When MonaLiza Smiled, which is screening in DIFF’s Muhr Arab Feature competition.

“It’s a simply a wonderful love story we think will work with our audiences. It will be the first Jordanian film to ever be released theatrically in Morocco,” said Marrakech Spectacles co-chief Mounia Layadi who negotiated the deal with Amman-based producer Nadia Eliewat.

“We also have an option for Algeria and Tunisia. We’re just waiting to see how the film performs in Morocco,” Layadi continued. “The plan is tap into the newly-created MEDIS distributors network to get it released in those territories.”

MEDIS, a Europe-backed lobbying and networking body grouping some 20 distributors from across the Middle East, was launched at Dubai Film Market earlier this week.

Layadi plans to release When Monaliza Smiled in Marrakech Spectacles’ Le Colisée Cinema as well as on screens in Casablanca. The distributor revealed she is currently investigating ways to convert the DCP version into a 35mm print.

“We have a digital projector at the Le Colisée but many theatres in Morocco don’t. The idea is to work with one DCP and two to three 35mm copies.”

She added: “We’ve had talks with the Doha Film Institute’s head of grants Khalil Benkirane to see whether the film would be eligible for its distribution grant aimed at print and publicity costs.”

Haddad’s $170,000-produced When Monaliza Smiled was released in Jordan by Prime Pictures after a savvy social media campaign by producer Eliewat.