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PRODUCTION Egypt / France

Amr Salama's Sheikh Jackson to shoot this spring


- Film Clinic's Franco-Egyptian co-production Clash by Mohamed Diab is also in production

Amr Salama's Sheikh Jackson to shoot this spring
Director Amr Salama

Egyptian indie production powerhouse Film Clinic is gearing up to launch financing on Sheikh Jackson, a bittersweet drama about an Islamic fundamentalist cleric with a secret passion for Michael Jackson music.

Amr Salama – whose credits include the prize-winning AIDS drama Asmaa and coming-of-age comedy Excuse My French, which recently swept the board at Egypt's equivalent of the Oscars – is set to direct.

The Cairo-based producer Mohamed Hefzy is hoping the picture will enable Salama – whose films have been feted on the festival circuit – to break out internationally. "He's highly recognised in the region but hasn't had so much exposure in the West," says Hefzy. "I think this film could really be his crossover film."

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Film Clinic's Paris-based European representative, Daniel Ziskind, is due to start sending the script out after the American Film Market. The aim, says Hefzy, is to make it with a mixture of Arab and European co-producers, with a shoot early next year.

In the meantime, the company is currently in the throes of production on Mohamed Diab's Clash [+see also:
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 (read the news), a co-production with Eric Lagesse's Paris-based Sampek, supported by French-German broadcaster Arte. It started shooting in the middle of October in Cairo and is due to wrap by the end of November for delivery in time for Cannes. It is Diab's second feature after the much-praised 678, tackling the issue of sexual harassment through the experiences of women on a Cairo bus.

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