MAD Solutions acquires worldwide rights to first-ever Jordanian short film at Cannes, THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY

14 June 2023
Faris Alrjoob’s sophomore short is set to premiere in competition at the Directors’ Fortnight, marking one of the first two Jordanian films to compete at the Cannes Film Festival
MAD Solutions — the world’s most prolific distributor of Arabic-language content — has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to Faris Alrjoob’s short film THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY, which will be making history alongside Amjad Al-Rasheed’s INSHALLAH A BOY next month as the first-ever Jordanian films — the first short and feature, respectively — in the history of Cannes.
THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY is set to world premiere at the Quinzaine Directors’ Fortnight this May, while Al-Rasheed’s INSHALLAH A BOY will world premiere in Critics’ Week. INSHALLAH A BOY will be distributed by MAD in the Arab world, with Pyramide International handling international sales.
Over the past year, MAD Solutions has paved new ground for its expansion into worldwide sales as it continues to strive toward wider audiences for Arab cinema across the globe. The company’s most recent acquisitions for global distribution are GOODBYE JULIA — selected last week in the French festival’s Un Certain Regard — marking the first-ever Sudanese film in Cannes history.
It also acquired Ahd Kamel’s hot-button Saudi project MY DRIVER & I, which MAD will distribute internationally, while MENA streamer OSN will broadcast it in the Arab world.
Written and directed by Alrjoob, THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY takes place in a ghostly town in the South of Jordan and follows the haunted Ida, who travels to the site of her partner’s disappearance in an attempt to feel his presence one last time and say goodbye.
Shot on Super 16mm and co-produced by Faris Alrjoob and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, this German-Jordanian romantic thriller speaks to the indescribable feeling of souls in transit. 
Alrjoob commented on the historical selection, “This film is a very personal one; to have my team and its work recognized on this scale is absolutely thrilling. Of course, it is especially moving to find out together with Amjad’s INSHALLAH A BOY, we are one of the two first-ever Jordanian films to premiere at Cannes.”
He also made a point to note those who have paved the groundwork for the current Jordanian industry: “It’s so important to know that it’s possible. Naji Abu Nowar and Bassel Ghandour’s THEEB gave me faith when I was starting out, and showed that we are able to compete on a global scale, by making true, uncompromising cinema, at eye-level with the viewer and the world. I hope my film will touch my contemporaries in the same way, and pay a piece of that faith forward.”
Alongside main actress Clara Schwinning, the film also stars Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Anwar Khalil, and burgeoning Jordanian actor Mohammad Nizar, who is represented by MAD Rising Celebrity — a subdivision of MAD Celebrity launched to champion Arab acting talents and market their profiles to advance their careers both within and outside the Arab world.
Nizar also played in Alrjoob’s previous short, THE GHOSTS WE LEFT AT HOME, which is also distributed worldwide by MAD Solutions
Starring Nadeem Rimawi and Maisa Abdelhadi, the film world premiered at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival and held its Arab world premiere at the first edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Commenting on the significance of the two Jordanian Cannes selections, MAD Solutions co-founders Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab said: “This year marks a watershed moment for Jordanian cinema, with not one but two films selected at Cannes. In a region where there was effectively no market for short films, our team at MAD Solutions has worked tirelessly for over a decade to support Arab shorts and to invest in the careers of young, talented directors.”
We distributed Amjad Al-Rasheed and Darin J. Sallam’s short THE PARROT in the Arab world in 2016 because we believed he was a director whose work deserved to be seen by audiences around the world. After tireless hard work, fast-forward seven years and his debut feature is the first Jordanian feature at Cannes. We are delighted to distribute Faris’ new short worldwide, and are just as excited to work towards his debut feature together.” 
Based in Berlin, Alrjoob is an interdisciplinary artist working within the fields of film, video art, and performance. In his work, he strives to experiment with aesthetic form and texture to explore the politics of his multiple identities in a confessional act of resistance and self-expression.