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PRODUCTION Ireland / Canada

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s Sweetness in the Belly in post-production

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- The Ethiopian filmmaker’s new movie is an adaptation of Camilla Gibb’s bestselling novel of the same name

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s Sweetness in the Belly in post-production
Director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari

Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay “Zee” Berhane Mehari is now working on his second feature, entitled Sweetness in the Belly, based on Camilla Gibb’s 2005 novel of the same name. The helmer’s debut film, entitled Difret, was executive-produced by Angelina Jolie and won the World Cinematic Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival as well as the 16th Panorama Audience Award at the Berlinale.

The story, adapted for the big screen by Laura Philips, explores an immigrant’s life from a unique perspective and revolves around Lilly Abdal (played by young American actress Dakota Fanning), who was orphaned in Africa as a child and escaped to England as a refugee, fleeing civil war. Once in Europe, Lilly embraces the immigrant community in London, attempting to reunite people with their scattered families. However, her mission is not purely selfless, as it will be revealed that she is involved in a passionate love affair with Aziz (played by Yayha Abdul-Mateen II, who recently appeared in the Black Mirror episode Striking Vipers), an idealistic doctor. Other confirmed cast members include The Big Bang Theory star Kunal Nayyar (Troll, Consumed), Wunmi Mosaku (Macbeth [+see also:
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, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them [+see also:
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), Gavin Drea (We Ourselves, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [+see also:
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) and Peter Bankole (The Physician).

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Sweetness in the Belly is being produced by Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny for Sienna Films (Canada) together with Alan Moloney and Susan Mullen for Dún Laoghaire-based Parallel Films (Ireland). Mehret Mandefro and Adrian Sturges will serve as executive producers along with Laura Bickford and Fiona Druckenmiller. Moreover, the project has received additional backing from Telefilm Canada, Screen Ireland, the Ontario Media Development Corporation and Eurimages.

The worldwide sales and distribution have been entrusted to British outfit HanWay Films. Toronto-based Entertainment One will distribute the film in Canada. Sweetness in the Belly is now in post-production, and an official release date is yet to be disclosed.

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