Dhulm - Years Of Torment (Lib)
Director: Najdat Anzour
Based on a treatment by Libyan president Muammar al-Gaddafi, who is also financing the $50m project, this historical epic was launched provocatively at a Rome press conference in October. The multi-linear drama, due to start shooting at the beginning of next year, is set against the backdrop of Italy's harsh occupation of Libya (1911-43), when tens of thousands of locals were gassed, deported or interned in camps. Produced by London-based Lebanese producer Ramzi Rassi, the film will be directed by Najdat Anzour, a Syrian well-known for his popular Ramadan TV soaps.
Opium War (Afg-S Kor)
Director: Siddiq Barmak
Status: in production
Afghan comedy is not a familiar genre, but director Siddiq Barmak is hoping to show his country is not all landmines and fundamentalism. Opium War centres on two US pilots who crash in a remote poppy-growing area of Afghanistan, and the unlikely friendship they strike up with a local family living in an abandoned Soviet tank. Barmak secured post-production finance from the Asian Cinema Fund at this year's Pusan festival. Due to be completed in spring 2008 - and an obvious Cannes contender - Cineclick Asia (which also produced the film) has already sold the title to eight territories, including Spain, Japan and Russia.
Salt Of This Sea (Fr-Pal-Neth-Switz-Bel-US-UK-Sp)
Director: Annemarie Jacir
Status: in post-production
A comedy-tinged drama about a young US woman who visits her grandfather's homeland, Palestine, Salt Of This Sea is produced by Jacques Bidou and Marianne Dumoulin of French company JBA. They raised the $1.9m budget through a raft of international partners including Netherlands-based Bero Beyer, who produced Hany Abu-Assad's Oscar-nominated Paradise Now. The project was supported at the script stage by the Hubert Bals Fund and the Sundance Script Lab. A recent addition to Pyramide's slate, Salt Of This Sea should be ready in time for Berlin.
The Baby Doll Night (Eg)
Director: Adel Adeeb
From the starting point of a single New Year's Eve in Cairo, then reflecting on more than 60 years of relations between the Arab world and the West, dark political epic The Baby Doll Night is the latest big-budget production from Egyptian media empire The Good News Group. Directed by Good News co-chairman Adel Adeeb from a script by his father Abdul, the $7m project has completed a five-week Cairo shoot and location stints in Vancouver and New York.
The Outlaws (Fr-Alg)
Director: Rachid Bouchareb (Fr-Alg)
Status: in development
A sequel of sorts to Days Of Glory, Rachid Bouchareb is putting the finishing touches to this film about the incident that sparked the Algerian War of Independence - the massacre by French troops of 30,000 people in and around the town of Setif, which began on May 8, 1945. The 18-week shoot is due to begin in Algeria in September 2008, before moving to Paris and New York. Produced by Bouchareb's Paris-based Tadrart Films together with Algerian company Tassilit, the project is backed by StudioCanal. Further partners are still being sought to complete the $29.5m budget.