Sundance Standout ‘Animalia’ Acquired For Middle East Distribution by Egypt’s Film Clinic (EXCLUSIVE)

Sundance standout film “Animalia,” by French-Moroccan filmmaker Sofia Alaoui, has been acquired for distribution across the Middle East and North Africa by Egypt’s Film Clinic, the shingle headed by producer Mohamed Hefzy.

Film Clinic, a top film and TV production company that branched out into theatrical distribution in 2016, picked up “Animalia” from Paris-based sales company Totem Films.

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Alaoui’s genre-bending pic is the tale of a pregnant young woman in Morocco whose life is upended by an alien invasion. In her review, Variety review critic Jessica Kiang praised “Animalia” as “a compellingly different cultural and social perspective on a classic sci-fi premise.” “Alaoui, working from her own taut, confidently ambiguous script, also gets to comment on the position of women in Muslim societies and the limits of wealth and organized faith, as well as elegantly outlining the eerie experience that is suddenly finding yourself startlingly alone during a time of shared global panic,” Kiang noted.

“It’s very original take on very strong female themes and also a beautifully shot film,” said Hefzy. “You can’t really call it a genre film; but at the same time it’s not your typical Arab arthouse film.” Hefzy went on to point out that “Animalia” is “a film about a woman who finds emancipation in the most extraordinary circumstance” and noted that, aside from having a very original concept, the film “is very much rooted in themes that are very relevant across the region. Not just in North Africa, but even in Egypt and Saudi Arabia,” which are among the region’s top theatrical markets.

As for the MENA rollout for “Animalia,” Hefzy said the challenge now is to decide the type of festival exposure in the Arab world that “Animalia” needs in order “to really get the attention it deserves” following its splashy Sundance launch.

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