EXCLUSIVE: MAD Solutions has acquired world sales rights to Egyptian director Amr Salama’s short film 60 Egyptian Pounds ahead of its world premiere as the opening film of the upcoming El Gouna Film Festival.
Salama is one of Egypt’s most popular directors with recent credits including Shahid-commissioned drama Bimbo, starring Ahmed Malek as a drug dealer-turned-detective; fantasy feature Bara El Manhag, Netlfix series Paranormal and Toronto hit Sheikh Jackson.
60 Egyptian Pounds grew out of Salama’s fascination and love of Egypt’s burgeoning hip-hop scene as well as desire to shed light on domestic abuse.
The short stars real-life Egyptian rap star Ziad Zaza, in his first big screen role, as a fictitious rapper with an abusive father, who takes it upon himself to end his family’s suffering once and for all.
“Working on 60 pounds was a liberating and refreshing experience,” says Salama. “I was curious to explore this art form and the background of its leading artists and to add the storytelling element to it in order to take this authenticity and turn it into a compelling story.”
Ziad Zaza is one of Egypt’s most prominent rap artists scene, thanks to debut album El Rays and You Tube trending tracks such as Karreta Sarrefa, Zaza, Basha, Leh Tedaye, and Dayra.
The short was produced by alternative Egyptian music label Beatroot Records and Cinerama Films.
“From the very first meeting we knew there was something special happening and that we had to trust in the process all the way till the end in order to get it out to the world in the most real and authentic fashion. And it’s exactly what we did,” said Beatroot Records founder Omar Gawdat, who is also Zaza’s manager.
Further cast members included Tarek El-Deweri, Hamza Diab, and Rawheya Salem.
The crew featured DoP Ahmed Tarek Bayoumi, whose credits include Cannes-winning short film I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face, and editor Ahmed Hafez (Moon Knight and Inshallah A Boy).
Sales and distribution, PR and management firm MAD Solutions previously worked with Salama’s on his 2017 feature Sheikh Jackson.
“Amr Salama is a seasoned filmmaker whose films have been nothing but revolutionary since the beginning, which is why we did not hesitate to acquire 60 Pounds and nurture yet another one of his projects,” said MAD Solutions co-heads Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab.
“While the film does focus on one type of community in particular, its core concepts are universal and will not only appeal to hip-hop fans but to everyone who comes across the short film in one way or another. “
The pair said the short chimed with MAD’s founding ambition to promote and distribute the “best Arab media has to offer.
The El Gouna Film Festival runs October 13 to 20, 2023 after a one-year hiatus.