‘1982’ Director Oualid Mouaness To Adapt & Direct ‘Bilqiss’ For The Kennedy/Marshall Company & K Films

EXCLUSIVE: Liberian-Lebanese director Oualid Mouaness, whose debut feature 1982 premiered at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival where it won the NETPAC Award, is set to write and direct a feature adaptation of Saphia Azzeddine’s novel Bilqiss for the Kennedy/Marshall Company and Khadija Alami’s K Films.

The project, which focuses on a rebellious Afghan woman who decides to take her life into her own hands in the land of jihad, marks the second feature film from prominent documentary and music video director Mouaness.

Bilqiss follows a young widow who is sentenced to death by stoning for calling the neighborhood faithful to prayer while the muezzin was asleep on the job. While on trial, she transforms the courtroom into a stage where she expresses her criticisms on her country’s fundamentalism and her own interpretations of the Quran. It’s a story of a strong woman who stands out from her environment and is unafraid to stand up to the religious fundamentalists in her part of the world.

Mouaness and Azzedine will co-write the script with Mouaness directing. K Films’ Alami optioned the title and will produce with Frank Marshall from The Kennedy/Marshall Company. The project will look to shoot in Alami’s Oasis Studios in Morocco.

Mouaness’ debut feature 1982, which stars Nadine Labaki and was released in the U.S. last month, also went on to win the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at El-Gouna Film Festival after it premiered in Toronto in 2019. It received critical acclaim at film festivals in France, China, Qatar and the U.S. He’s also known for producing seminal music videos with artists such as David Bowie (The Stars & The Next Day) and a video-record and Emmy-nominated live concert performance for Annie Lennox (Nostalgia) as well as videos for Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, N.E.R.D, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Rihanna among others. He’s been nominated for several VMAs and CMAs over the years.

In his commercial work, Mouaness was instrumental in bringing several docs to life including critically acclaimed Rize, which premiered at Sundance, as well as Max Richter’s Sleep.

Azzeddine is a French-Moroccan writer, actress, screenwriter and film director who has written seven novels including Confidences À Allah and My Father Is A Cleaning Lady, which she adapted into a film and also directed.

Mouaness is repped by CAA and The Cartel.

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