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Berlinale: Match Factory Takes Sales on Artist Shirin Neshat’s ‘Looking for Umm Kulthum’ (Exclusive)

13 February 2017 12:00 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Berlin-based The Match Factory has taken world sales on New York-based Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat’s “Looking for Umm Kulthum,” a feature film centered on Egyptian singer-actress and international icon Umm Kulthum, considered the Arab world’s greatest singer.

Neshat said that the film is based on her obsession with how Umm Kulthum, “as a Muslim woman artist, was able to transcend all sexual, religious, political, and national barriers and expectations, and became the single most significant Middle Eastern artist of the 20th century.”

“Looking for Umm Kulthum” is the “story of an Iranian woman filmmaker, living in exile, who dares to make a film about an iconic Arab singer without being Arabic herself,” Neshat said in her first interview about the long-gestating project, which is now in post. “The film therefore is not a biopic, but a very personal story, loosely based on my own experiences and challenges. »

- Nick Vivarelli

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