Chai Vasarhelyi's doc about Senegalese musician Youssou NDour and his struggle to release his controversial "Egypt" album has been acquired by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's Oscilloscope Pictures. Fresh from the Telluride and Toronto film festivals where the documentary debuted in conjunction with live concert events, "Youssou NDour: I Bring What I Love" will be released in theaters early next summer.
The deal for U.S. rights was negotiated by David Fenkel for Oscilloscope with Bobby Allen and Hengameh Panahi of Celluloid Dreams. Celluloid is handling international sales.
An international superstar musician, Ndour faced opposition when exploring his Muslim faith with the "Egypt" album, which included arrangements with Egyptian musicians. Some charged Youssour NDour with blasphemy and he was even scorned by those in his home country who had once held him up as an idol.
"I caught 'I Bring What I Love' at the Toronto Film Festival and was really moved by it," said Adam Yauch-- a member of the Beastie Boys -- in a statement today. "Youssou sings from his heart, and hearing him combine his own music with Egyptian music was incredible. It's great that Chai was able to tell Youssou's story in such a creative and entertaining way. I'm looking forward to O-Scope bringing this film out to the public."
Oscilloscope is currently releasing Irena Salina's "Flow" and has Caroline Suh's "Frontrunners," Kurt Kuenne's "Dear Zachary" and Kelly Reichardt's "Wendy and Lucy" coming later this year. Reichardt's film, from this year's Cannes Film Festival, will be at the New York Film Festival this weekend.