Feathers of a Father

Omar El Zohairy
Egypt - France - Netherlands - Greece

Synopsis

When a magician’s trick goes wrong at six-year-old Mando’s birthday party, an avalanche of coincidental absurdities befalls the boy’s family. The conjurer turns Sami, the authoritative Egyptian father, into a chicken, but fails to bring him back to his customary state.

 

This mysterious transformation sends the family on a tragically funny adventure of self-discovery as they attempt to survive without their patriarch. Rasha, until now a passive mother, suddenly finds herself the head of the family. Gradually, she transforms, becoming a stronger woman and mother. Her son Ramadan, a teenager, is forced to take up his father’s job in order to bring money to the household. Mando, meanwhile, struggles without his father but finds solace in his elder brother. When Sami returns an invalid, he is a burden more than anything else. His long-awaited return brings nothing but disappointment. The family learns that life is possible without a dictator to lead them.

Fiction
1st feature
Director of photography

Kamal Samy

Editor

Hisham Saqr

Main Cast

Domiana Nassar, Sami Bassuiny

Production

Still Moving (France)
Juliette Lepoutre
jlepoutre@stillmoving.fr
Pierre Menahem

 

Co-production

Film Clinic (Egypt)
Mohamed Hefzy

Kepler Film (The Netherlands)
Derk-Jan Warrink
Koji Nelissen

Heretic (Greece)
Giorgos Karnavas
Konstantinos Kontovrakis

 

Director’s statement

When an Egyptian family loses their patriarch, they will do almost anything to survive in his absence, but an oppressive society has to go on a long and painful journey to find freedom. In Feathers of a Father, the transformation of the father into a chicken is the starting point of a poignantly absurd story about a family and a patriarchal society where the father is in the position of dictator. The film’s effectiveness is in its details and the authenticity of the environment and the characters that inhabit it. For most of the roles, I am working with non-professional actors, who play versions of themselves. Real locations that are in a state of decay are a testament to the state of the nation. Visually, the film will capture images that are very close to reality: unembellished, raw, violent. Together, these various elements will create absurd, hyper-real situations within which to tell the story of one family in post-revolution Egypt.

Biographies

Omar El Zohairy
Omar El Zohairy
Director

Omar El Zohairy studied at the Cairo Higher Institute of Cinema and has worked as an assistant director alongside some of Egypt’s most celebrated filmmakers, among them Youssef Chahine and Yousry Nasrallah. His short film Breathe Out (2011) had its premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize. His second short, The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375 (2014), was the first Egyptian film selected for the Cinéfondation of the Festival de Cannes. It went on to win awards worldwide. El Zohairy is currently shooting his first feature-length film, Feathers of a Father. The project was awarded the Baumi Development Award and was developed with the support of the TorinoFilmLab Feature Lab and the residency of the Cinéfondation.

Juliette Lepoutre, Pierre Menahem
Juliette Lepoutre, Pierre Menahem
Producers

Juliette Lepoutre began producing films after fifteen years in the high tech industry. She co-founded MPM Film, where she co-produced work by directors including Panos Koutras, Adrian Sitaru and Béla Tarr.
Pierre Menahem started his career in the film industry in 1997 working at Celluloid Dreams as Director of Sales and Acquisitions.
In 2015, Lepoutre and Menahem co-founded Still Moving, which has produced Maya Da Rin’s The Fever (2019), which was in competition at the Locarno Festival; and Ala Eddine Slim’s Tlamess (2019), which was presented in the Directors’ Fortnight at the Festival de Cannes. Projects currently in process include Julia Murat’s Regra34 (in post-production), Omar El Zohairy’s Feathers of a Father (in production), as well as Maha Haj’s Mediterranean Fever and Pedro Pinho’s Tomorrow (both in financing).

Total budget

€720 000

Financing secured

€570 000

Partners attached

Aide aux cinémas du monde, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Hubert Bals Fund Development, HBF+Netherlands Film Fund, World Cinema Fund Europe, Greek Film Center, Film Clinic Distribution

Shooting period and locations

October, November 2020, Cairo, Egypt

Expected delivery

May 2021

Stage of post-production

Shooting in process

Looking for

International Sales, distributor

Pitch

Other Films in production or post-production