Hollywood's Cinema Libre Studio to Produce Film on Algeria's Greatest Leader, The Emir Abd El-Kader, Directed by Charles Burnett

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AARC and the Los Angeles-based company Cinema Libre Studio, have signed an agreement to co-produce a major motion picture on the epic story of Algeria’s greatest leader, the Emir Abd El-Kader to be directed by Charles Burnett with principal photography to begin November 2013 in Algeria. The movie tells the main events of The Emir’s life; built in flashbacks, it begins with Abd El-Kader’s actions in 1860 Syria when he raised a second army to save the more than 12,000 Christians who were being massacred.

American Director Charles Burnett

Abd El- Kader believed the world would inevitably slide towards its end if men couldn’t understand that the three religions say the same thing and that the conflicts in this world are always essentially economical…and he was right.

Upon an initiative of the Algerian Ministry of Culture, the state agency in charge of promoting Algerian culture, AARC and the Los Angeles-based American company Cinema Libre Studio, have signed an agreement to co-produce a major motion picture on the epic story of Algeria’s greatest leader, the Emir Abd El-Kader. Principal photography will start in November 2013 in Algeria.

The fiction feature will be directed by Charles Burnett, the politically-engaged African-American director acclaimed by international critics for his such films as “Killer of Sheep” and “Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation.” Charles Burnett says, “Making this movie is both an honor and a challenge because of the importance of this extraordinary man and his contribution to mankind. It’s essential that the West finally knows such a hero comes from this part of the world.”

Abd El-Kader (1808-1883) unified the resistance and fought the French colonization while building the modern Algerian State. After fifteen years of fighting, he had to accept exile in order to stop the slaughter of his people by the French.

The screenplay is penned by Algerian anthropologist Zaïm Khenchelaoui, a specialist on the Emir’s life and also considered one of the top experts in Sufism (Algeria: In The Heart of Sufism) and the film’s producer, Philippe Diaz (“Mauvais Sang,” “Bengali Night”). The movie will convey a critical message both political and universal; on the one hand about the exploitation of a people by another and on the other, the need for religious tolerance, a vital principle for the Emir.

A Muslim, Abd El- Kader considered the three main religions of the Book¬--Islam, Judaism and Christiantiy--to be very similar and, therefore, all of their practitioners to be brothers.

The movie tells the main events of The Emir’s life. Built in flashbacks, it begins with Abd El-Kader’s actions in 1860 Syria when he raised a second army to save the more than 12,000 Christians who were being massacred. This act was acknowledged by many heads of states including Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria, which created universal recognition for the Emir.

The movie is being produced by Philippe Diaz, founder of Cinema Libre Studio and Mustapha Orif, AARC's general manager. Says Diaz, “Due to what is happening in the world right now, I can’t see any movie that is more important to be made today. Abd El- Kader believed the world would inevitably slide towards its end if men couldn’t understand that the three religions say the same thing and that the conflicts in this world are always essentially economical…and he was right.”

Expected for many years, this film on the Emir Abd El- Kader’s life, strives to deliver a corrected vision of the Algerian’s resistance against the French and to share with an international audience this man's message of peace and tolerance.

The artistic and technical crew, consisting of some of the most important American, French and Algerian professionals, will utilize this production to mentor young Algerian artists and technicians. The young generation of filmmakers will be given access and introduced to the most sophisticated techniques of modern cinema while participating to the revival of the national movie industry. Madame Khalida Toumi, the Minister of Culture, says: "The Emir Abd el-Kader's story is the foundation of the story of modern Algeria as a State, a nation and a society. The same way his story is the foundation of humanity’s fight for a less cynical, more just and more tolerant world, that is respectful of others. Therefore, there are many movies that could be made about this great figure and today's world really needs them. I am proud that the Algerian Ministry of Culture is participating in the birth of the first one."    

ABOUT CINEMA LIBRE: Cinema Libre Studio is a leader in distributing social-issue documentaries and features by passionate filmmakers. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Cinema Libre team has released over one hundred films including the Sundance Audience Award‐Winning FUEL, THE END OF POVERTY?, Rachid Bouchareb’s LONDON RIVER and Oliver Stone’s SOUTH OF THE BORDER. The studio is developing John Perkins’ best‐selling memoirs, CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN, into a major motion picture.

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Beth Portello
@cinemalibre
since: 01/2009
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