7/24/2024
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Somali-Austrian film debuts at Cannes, secures global distribution deals


Thursday May 16, 2024



London, UK (HOL) –  "The Village Next to Paradise,a Somali-set drama directed by Somali-Austrian filmmaker Mo Harawe, has made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section and secured distribution deals across several regions. The film, which portrays the life struggles of a single father in a Somali village, was sold to MAD Solutions for distribution in the Middle East and North Africa, with additional deals in France with Jour2fête and in Austria with Filmladen.

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At the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, the drama was highlighted among 14 titles, drawing significant attention for its vivid portrayal of a rarely seen part of the world. The trailer introduced Somali actors Ahmed Ali Farah, Anab Ahmed Ibrahim, and Ahmed Mohamud Saleban, showcasing the 
film’s authentic representation.

Harawe, born in Mogadishu in 1992 and residing in Austria since 2009, crafted this film to symbolize the untapped potential of Somalia, described as a metaphorical 'village next to paradise.His narrative follows a father and his young son, Cigaal, as they share their home with Araweelo, a woman undergoing a divorce, facing daily challenges and complex realities together.

The film is produced by Austria’s Freibeuter Film, Germany’s Niko Film, France’s Kazak Productions, and Somalia’s Maanmaal ACC. It recently won the $21,000 post-production Atlas Award at the Marrakech Film Festival’s Atlas Workshops.

Before this feature, Harawe made a mark with his short films, including "Life on the Horn,which received a Special Mention at the Locarno International Film Festival, and "Will My Parents Come to See Me,which won a German Lola award and was nominated for a European Film Award.

MAD Solutions’ co-founders, Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab, expressed high expectations for the film, anticipating its strong resonance with global audiences and praising their ongoing collaboration with Harawe as he transitions to feature-length films.



 





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