Cairo-based Arab cinema distribution and marketing company Mad Solutions is extending its footprint into North America after taking an equity stake in New York-based arthouse distributor D Street Releasing.
Under the new partnership, MAD Solutions will theatrically release five to seven Arab-language films in the US and Canada annually.
First titles being lined up for 2022 include Jordanian filmmaker Zaid Abu Hamdan’s family drama Daughters of Abdul-Rahman; Tunisian director Mehdi Hmili’s post-revolution societal drama Streams, about a woman who overcomes the odds to reunite with her son, and haunted house tale Barra El Manhag by top Egyptian director Amr Salama.
D Street Releasing is a division of D Street Media Group, a production, distribution and music publishing company with affiliate operations in the US, Germany, Ecuador, Argentina and South Africa.
It has been largely dormant in recent years but the decision to reactivate it came about after a meeting at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah last December between Mad Solutions cofounders Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab and D Street’s founding CEO Dexter Davis and partner Silvana Santamaria.
“After taking a break from the theatrical distribution business, I’m extremely excited about this reboot with visionary partners Alaa and Maher, who both bring with them a wealth of regional experience, creative connections and marketing knowledge to the company,” said Dexter Davis, CEO of D Street Media Group.
“This historic partnership will give U.S. audiences the opportunity to understand better our Arab brothers and sisters through powerful stories. Breaking stereotypes and prejudices is a key part of our mandate and with the support and resources from MAD Solutions, I believe we can achieve that goal.
Cairo-based Mad Solutions has a 15-year track record of distributing and promoting Arab cinema in the Middle East and North Africa. Co-founders Karkouti and Diab hope the new operation will give wider exposure to Arab cinema in North America, where it has been reliant on festival screenings to find audiences until now. The pair also have plans to expand the offering to titles from Africa and Europe in the future.
“Arab cinema is just the starting point. I know there are many films from Africa and Europe that never make it to the US and we certainly want to pick up where the company left off and open new theatrical pathways to good stories from everywhere,” said Karkouti.
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