Abu-Assad has directed the only two Palestinian Oscar entries ever to be nominated, acclaimed “Omar” (2013) and “Paradise Now” (2005). And while the country went with another film this year, Paul Cowan and Amer Shomali’s “The Wanted 18,” Abu-Assad’s latest has landed distribution.
TIFF world premiere “The Idol” has been picked up for US release by Adopt Films, the risk-taking indie distributor that has released films including 2014 Palme d’Or winner “Winter Sleep,” plus this year’s upcoming “Victoria,” which also played Toronto.
“The Idol” is a Gaza biopic about “Arab Idol” winner Mohammed Assaf, who ended up seizing the singing prize in Beirut in 2013 even after auditions had closed. The film stars Qais Atallah, Hiba Atallah and Ahmed Qassim. THR calls it an “endearing, unabashedly sappy tale of underdog triumph.”