Described by The Independent as a Compelling View of Egypt's Nightmarish Future
Director Rami Imam Turns Utopia into a Film and Hopes American Star Robert De Niro Will Join the Project
In a futuristic, nightmarish theme that is unusual for Arab cinema, where the rich and the poor live in separate cities guarded by gunmen, Egyptian Director Rami Imam begins the pre-production process of his new film Utopia. The film is based on Ahmed Khaled Towfik's novel by the same name. Utopia remained the best-selling novel in the Arab world for a long time. The news of this adaptation process was revealed by True Motion, the production company, through Arab Cinema Center (ACC), which was organized by MAD Solutions at the Film Market of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
The film's events take place around the year 2030 in Egypt, somewhere between a city called Utopia, a city inhabited by the rich oppressors, and Cairo, a city inhabited by the "Others" or the oppressed. Utopia here is not aptly named as it is not the perfect city, but a city that is inhabited exclusively by the wealthy after they isolate themselves from the rest of the Egyptians.
Utopia is expected to be filmed in Cairo and the UAE. Director Rami Imam will co-produce the film along with several international special effects companies to ensure high quality cinematography highlighting the contrast between the lifestyles in both cities. Rami stated, "Utopia requires a gargantuan and exceptional effort in visual and special effects, a la Marvel Studios, including green screens and CG shots highlighting both worlds. To achieve the image I dreamt of, I will take part in the production process and also try to convince the star Robert Di Nero to play one of the leading roles, along with a huge team of Arab and foreign stars. The film will be released in 2017."
The announcement of the movie adaptation was made by the production company True Motion at the Arab Cinema Center (ACC); a unique Arabic gathering that began during the second edition of the Cannes Film Festival with the participation of 17 institutions and production companies from 8 countries. Alaa Karkouti, CEO and Co-founder of MAD Solutions, the organizing company of Arab Cinema Center (ACC) says, "Rami Imam is one of the most important Egyptian directors and he is now preparing to turn one of the most successful contemporary Egyptian novels into a huge futuristic film. I can feel the audience's enthusiasm in the Arab world upon hearing the news. The novel reflects the reality in many Arab countries and certainly a film of this size will benefit from the momentum provided by Arab Cinema Center (ACC). The Center provides a professional window for Arab filmmakers to connect with their peers from around the world; it is an international promotional platform and helps in creating business networks with representatives of companies and institutions in the areas of co-production, distribution, among others."
Utopia has been translated into English and French, and topped the best-selling lists in the Arab world and several editions of the book have been sold out. It was nominated for the Best Science Fiction Award in 2012 and the British newspaper, The Independent, described it as "Far more convincing a depiction of a nightmarish future even than A Clockwork Orange, Utopia is a miniature masterpiece. I defy anyone not to read it in one sitting."
Ahmed Khaled Towfik is one of the most successful science fiction and suspense writers in the Arab world, with a massive fan base. Utopia will be his first novel to be turned into a film adaptation.