Following the success of the Arabic language remake of Perfect Strangers, which is currently streaming on Netflix, leading Middle East based distributor and producer Front Row Filmed Entertainment has joined the set of producers on the satirical coming-of-age-comedy feature Abdelinho, an Arab language feature film starring Palestinian star Ali Suliman (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan; Terrence Malick’s The Last Planet, The Attack, Houda’s Salon). Front Row will also represent all MENA rights for the title.
The film is produced and directed by French-Moroccan filmmaker Hicham Ayouch (Fevers) and co-produced by Canal+ International, Chadi Abdo’s Hecat (which was behind the Academy Award nominated 2019 documentary The Cave), FreeMonkeyz and Sihamou Productions. The story follows Abdelinho, a young Moroccan who’s fascinated by everything that has to do with Brazil, to the point that he's taught himself to speak the language fluently, dances the samba regularly and is head over heals in love with Maria, a heroine on a Brazilian telenovela. His world is turned upside down when an ultra-conservative televangelist arrives.
With its thought-provoking themes blended with humour, drama, romance and a touch of samba, Abdelinho is a perfect fit for Front Row, a company that continues to bolster its production slate.
"Abdelinho is a comedy and a contemporary tale, with a strong message about the importance of living your dreams and being free,” said Ayouch. "We will follow the journey of a character who will have to fight his society, just to be himself. I hope this film will create passionate and constructive discussions in the Arab World regarding how we deal with people's differences and freedom of conscience. I'm very happy to collaborate with Front Row whose enthusiasm about Abdelinho is wonderful, they fell in love with the film and I'm sure they'll do a fantastic job".
Front Row CEO Gianluca Chakra added: “We’re proud to be joining such a team. Hicham is an innate storyteller with an understanding of the region’s reality, but also its massive potential. Abdelinho is a unique film that underscores how fanaticism can limit dreams and creativity, to the point of debilitating societies. 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.”
This is Ayouch’s fourth feature and his other works include the 2013 acclaimed drama Fevers. The production was one of the buzziest works-in-progress at the Red Sea Souk project market at the end of 2021. The film is currently in post-production and aiming to be ready by the end of the year. International sales are being handled by the Parisian outfit Urban Sales.
Front Row Filmed Entertainment is a leading independent film distribution company that acquires all rights for distribution in the Middle East and North Africa based in Dubai (UAE) and with offices in Kuwait and Lebanon. Front Row was launched in 2003 by Gianluca & Michel Chakra and currently boasts a film library of close to 1,000 titles.
Founded by by Frederic Corvez in 2004, Urban Sales' recent acquisitions include Japanese dystopian drama Plan 75, Annecy 2022 Competition title Nayola, Tribeca 2022 Competition dramedy Pink Moon, the Dardennes-produced drama La Civil, winner of the Audacity Award in Cannes 2021 Official Selection and and Berlinale 2020 Crystal Bear winner Sweet Thing.