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Before becoming a feature filmmaker, El Batout covered war zones including Iraq and Kosovo.
He decided to become a fictional director after being shot twice covering the Ein Shams riots in Egypt in 2005. Winter of Discontent – his third feature film - got rave reviews on its worldwide premiere in Venice earlier this year.
Swipe Films struck a deal with U.K. independent outfit New Wave Films to secure U.K. and Irish rights to the film.
Set amid the democratic protests of Cairo’s Tahrir Square that began in January 2011, Winter of Discontent follows a political activist Amr (Amr Waked), journalist Farah (Farah Youssef) and state security officer Adel (Salah Alhanafy) as the country moved towards free elections and ending of dictator Hosni Mubarek’s reign
Actor and producer Waked – known for his roles in Syriana, House of Saddam and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – produced the film through his company Zad Communication and Production.
He said: ”My first day of shooting on the movie was actually in the chaotic mayhem of Tahrir Square, on the day before Mubarek stepped downfrom power,”
“I am thrilled that the film will now receive a U.K. release and audiences will get to witness first hand the heady, often surreal atmosphere of terror and uncertainty that characterized the last days of [deposed Egyptian president] Mubarek’s rule.”
Swipe Films’ Frank Mannion said: “New Wave Films is also an appropriately named company for this film as Winter of Discontent does, in my opinion, represents the crest of an exciting new wave in Arab cinema.”
Robert Beeson of New Wave Films added: “After witnessing the rapturous 10 minute standing ovation the film received at its world premiere in Venice, we are thrilled to be giving U.K. audiences the opportunity to see a fresh take on the events of the Arab Spring.”
The film is set to enjoy its U.K. premiere during this year’s BFI London Film Festival on October 20.