EXCLUSIVE: Company to handle international sales for Ibrahim El Batout’s film centred around the Arab Spring.
Early in the Venice market, Frank Mannion’s Swipe Films has confirmed it has come on board as the international sales agent for Egyptian movie Winter of Discontent [pictured], which will have its world premiere in Venice’s Orrizonti this week.
The deal was negotiated by Daniel Ziskind, cinema representative of Zad & Amr Waked in Europe, on behalf of the filmmakers. Swipe Films is the UK based sales, production and distribution company run by Frank Mannion. Swipe’s previous market successes include the Golden Globe winner, Osama, and Mike Figgis’ Love Live Long.
“The world premiere of the film at Venice provides the perfect forum for audiences to see a fresh take on the events of the Arab Spring,” Mannion commented. “Winter of Discontent is a powerful movie that will resonate with all independent film lovers and those with a passion for delving deeper into the seminal events that changed the face of Egypt. Amr Waked (who starred in Syriana, House of Saddam and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) in the lead role, adds real star wattage to the movie.”
Set against the backdrop of the whirlwind protests of Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January 2011, the film takes us on a moving journey into the intertwined lives of an activist (and victim of state terror), a journalist and a state security officer.
The film is directed by award winning filmmaker Ibrahim El Batout. Prior to 2004, Batout was an internationally recognized award-winning documentary filmmaker who covered war zones from Iran/Iraq to Kosovo, before turning to features after being shot twice.
Actor/producer Amr Waked, whose company Zad Communication & Production produced the film (in association with Aroma, Ein Shams and Material House) commented that the film “came together organically as political change overcame Egypt. The first day of shooting for the movie actually took place in the chaotic mayhem of Tahrir Square on the day before Mubarak stepped down from power. Our close group of collaborators fed off that intense energy and turned it towards the creative purpose of this film.
“The characters and the storyline took shape as political events changed on a daily basis, and the close cooperation between the director, actors and producers was essential in defining every aspect of the movie. I am thrilled that the film is now receiving its world premiere at Venice and audiences will get to witness the often surreal atmosphere of terror and uncertainty that characterized the last days of Mubarak’s rule.”