Lula Ali Ismaïl Directing ‘Nuur,’ Omar Abdi, Hamza Fouad Starring

Scythia Films, the production banner behind “The Apprentice,” has tapped Lula Ali Ismaïl to direct “Nuur,” the story of an academically gifted 17-year-old boy growing up in Dixon, a Somali community in Toronto. Omar Abdi, who appeared in “The Gravedigger’s Wife,” and Hamza Fouad, best known for his work in “Riverdale” and “Arrow,” are attached to star.

The film is adapted from Hassan Ghedi Santur’s novel “The Youth of God,” with the author writing the adaptation of his book. The film will be produced by Daniel Bekerman, Chris Yurkovich and Lara Saliba under the Good Question Media banner in association with Scythia Films. Jordan Hart, Michael Bronner and Bhakti Shringarpure of Smashing Dandelions will be executive producing. Telefilm Canada is funding the production. Additional casting is currently underway.

The film explores themes of migration, assimilation, intergenerational trauma and the struggle for identity. It centers on a boy named Nuur, as he negotiates between the calling of his faith, his intellectual ambitions and troubled family life. The company says it is reminiscent of other “evocative films about migration” like Lulu Wang’s “Farewell” and Mira Nair’s “The Namesake.” 

Ismaïl is a Canadian-Djiboutian director, producer, screenwriter and actress whose first feature film, “Dhalinyaro,” is a coming-of-age story of three young women navigating love, friendship and uncertain futures. It was the first film to come out of Djibouti. In a statement, Ismaïl said that “Nuur” “is close to my heart because it will allow me to show the specific and the universal experience of Somali migration from within, having been part of it myself, and to authentically document the experiences of those who struggle to feel good in a new place.”

Abdi is represented by Alta Global Media. Fouad is represented by Lucas Talent and Venture Entertainment Partners. 

Good Question Media and Scythia Films recently teamed on “The Apprentice,” a controversial look at the rise of Donald Trump that starred Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Strong and Maria Bakalova, and was directed by Ali Abassi. It premiered at Cannes. The companies recently announced “The Eden Express,” from writer-director Daniel Cockburn which is based on the memoir of the same title by Mark Vonnegut and true events that explore life with mental illness and “Knight’s Camp,” a dark comedy starring Judy Greer and Sophia Lillis that follows four teens at a medieval-themed summer camp. 

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