Un Certain Regard Title ‘Harka,’ From Lotfy Nathan, Unveils First Clip

U.S. director Lotfy Nathan, best known for his acclaimed debut documentary “12 O’Clock Boys,” is making his feature directorial debut with “Harka.”

Screening as part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, the film is set in Tunisia, in North Africa, and follows Ali (Adam Bessa), a young man in his twenties who makes a precarious living selling contraband gas on the streets.

Ali dreams of a better life for himself, but his domestic responsibilities step up when his father’s sudden death leaves him in charge of his two young sisters. With the family facing impending eviction, Ali seeks steadier work and a stable life. In a society fraught with corruption, however, only illicit opportunities present themselves, and Ali is confronted with a decision from which there may be no turning back.

In describing the project, Nathan said: “We all know of the migrant crisis that has followed the Arab Spring of 2010-2011. In the decade since, many migrant stories have been told. This film is about those who remain. It is a meditation on what it is to be trapped where you are, despite a life-or-death need to leave.”

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Distribution in France has been secured by Dulac Distribution. “Harka” is represented for worldwide sales by Film Constellation, which is also co-repping U.S. sales with CAA.

The film is a Cinenovo, Kodiak Pictures, Beachside and Anonymous Content production. It’s made in co-production with Spacemaker, Tarantula Luxembourg, Detailfilm, Cinetelefilms, Wrong Men and The Res Sea Film Festival Foundation, in association with Film Constellation and Macpac Entertainment.

The film will world premiere in Cannes on May 19.

Nathan’s 2013 debut “12 O’Clock Boys” received an HBO emerging artist award, and played SXSW, Sundance LA, Lincoln Center NYC, Viennale, Hot Docs Toronto, London and Copenhagen. The film played cinemas in North America and Europe, and was ultimately released on Showtime.

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Watch an exclusive clip from the film below:

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