Advertisement

Breakout Tunisian Hit ‘Take My Breath,’ a Drama About Intersex Identity, Acquired for World Sales by MAD Solutions (EXCLUSIVE)

MAD Solutions — the Middle East and North Africa region’s leading sales agent and distributor of Arabic-language films — has acquired the world sales rights for Tunisian director Nada Mezni Hafaiedh’s debut feature “Take My Breath,” which world premiered in the International Competition of the Warsaw Film Festival this fall.

Hafaiedh’s film, which has found great success in Tunisian cinemas over the past month, follows the life of a young seamstress named Shams, whose tranquil life unravels when their intersex identity is exposed. Engaged in a steamy love triangle and targeted by an obsessive attacker, Shams escapes to the capital city.

More from Variety

Taking refuge with their lover’s mystic cousin, Shams grapples with their complex sense of self. The evocative tale explores the clash between desire and identity.

In creating “Take My Breath,” Hafaiedh says she aimed to “highlight overlooked struggles and spark discussion about avoided subjects” in her native Tunisia, in order to “invite reflection and understanding, and ultimately to challenge prejudices surrounding gender identity and intersexuality.”

The protagonist of the film is played by burgeoning Tunisian actress Amina Ben Smail, who plays ‘Flo’ in Pierro Mesina’s upcoming sci-fi film “Another End,” starring Gael García Bernal and Renate Reinsve (“The Worst Person in the World”). “Take My Breath” also stars breakout performances from Sana Ben Cheikh Larbi and Mohamed Mrad, and a stellar turn from beloved veteran Tunisian actress Fatima Ben Saidane.

Written and directed by Hafaiedh, the film is a co-production between Slim Hafaiedh of Leyth Production and Ziad H. Hamzeh of Hamzeh Mystique Films.

MAD Solutions recently launched its world sales unit with one of this year’s breakout hits from Cannes, Sudan’s high-profile Oscar submission “Goodbye Julia.” The film is directed by Mohamed Kordofani, executive produced by Lupita Nyong’o, and produced by Amjad Abu Alala, director of “You Will Die at Twenty,” and co-produced by Mohammed Al-Omda.

As MAD continues to selectively bolster its world sales slate, the company also has two other women-directed debut features in post-production geared up for world premieres soon — Ahd Kamel’s Saudi drama “My Driver & I” and Laila Abbas’ Palestinian debut feature “Thank You for Banking With Us.”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.