Screen can reveal the first trailer for Tunisian director Youssef Chebbi’s edgy police thriller Ashkal ahead of its world premiere in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this month.

The drama unfolds against the backdrop of an unfinished new neighbourhood called the Gardens Of Carthage on the outskirts of Tunis, the construction of which stalled due to the 2011 revolution.

As building work starts up, a series of badly burned bodies begin turning up on the site. Local police officers Fatma and Batal are assigned to investigate.

It is Chebbi’s first fiction feature after well-travelled short films Vers Le Nord and Les Profondeurs and FID Marseille jury prize-winning documentary Babylon.

It is lead produced by Farès Ladjimi under the banner of his Paris-based company Supernova Films with France’s Poetik Film and Tunisia’s Blast Film.

The Party Films Sales is handling international sales. Its parent company Jour2Fête holds French rights.