Dubai-based Front Row Filmed Entertainment has boarded Moroccan director Hicham Ayouch’s upcoming satirical comedy Abdelinho as a producer as well as taken MENA rights for the film.
The pan-Arab distribution and production company joins Ayouch, who also produces under the banner of Président Productions, and co-producers Canal + International, Chadi Abdo’s Paris-based Hecat Studio (The Cave) and Moroccan companies FreeMonkeyz and Sihamou Productions.
Front Row has enjoyed a high-profile six months as its expansion into developing and producing Arabic content, which began in 2019, starts to bear fruit with its first production Perfect Strangers, an Arabic language adaptation of the Italian film of the same name, proving a hit for Netflix.
Abdelinho revolves around a young man living in a small town in Morocco with a passion for Brazil, who gets on the wrong side of a televangelist preacher, played by Palestinian acting star Ali Suliman. It is the fourth feature for Ayouch, whose other works include the 2013 drama Fevers.
The film is in post-production and is expected to be completed in time for a festival debut towards the end of 2022. Paris-based Urban Distribution International (UDI) is handling international sales.
“Abdelinho is a unique film that underscores how fanaticism can limit dreams and creativity, to the point of debilitating societies,” said Front Row CEO Gianluca Chakra.
“Ultimately the film injects positivity and hope within our cultures here, something which we always strive for particularly in the Middle East. Given our position in the market, we will do everything possible to get this film out and be seen by as many eyeballs we can reach.”