101 Studios has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to “Mosul,” an Iraq War drama funded and produced by Anthony and Joe Russo’s production company AGBO, an individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap.
Matthew Michael Carnahan, who wrote the AGBO film “21 Bridges” starring Chadwick Boseman opening this month, wrote and directed “Mosul.” It’s inspired by an article in The New Yorker by Luke Mogelson about the Nineveh SWAT team, an elite police squad of soldiers composed of local Iraqis all fighting ISIS. The drama first premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, followed by Toronto, and 101 Studios will now release the film in 2020.
Waleed Elgadi, Suhail Dabbach and Adam Bessa star in the film as a police squad moving block by block to reclaim their city from ISIS, all while nursing their own personal traumas at the hands of the terrorist group.
Condé Nast Entertainment also produced the film alongside AGBO. The Russo Brothers and Mike Larocca are the producers for AGBO, and Condé Nast Entertainment’s Jeremy Steckler and Dawn Ostroff are also producers. The film’s executive producers are AGBO’s Todd Makurath, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely along with Mohamed Al-Daradji, Patrick Newall, Wang Zhongjun and Wang Zhonglei.
“Mosul” was shot in secret on location in the Middle East this past spring, and “Avatar” cinematographer Mauro Fiore shot the film.
“Our writer/director Matthew Michael Carnahan was the perfect artist to depict this uniquely regional story which champions a culture that has never really been championed on screen before. The heart of the movie depicts the innate desire to fight for country and home,” the Russos said in a statement.
“Matthew Michael Carnahan’s incredible depiction of the brave men of the Nineveh SWAT team and the sacrifices they made for their own war-torn country resonates as a perspective to the Middle East to which we’re not accustomed,” David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios, said in a statement. “This extraordinary film produced by the Russo brothers possess the exact vigor and dedication to storytelling that we at 101 Studios continue to champion.”
“I hadn’t even finished Luke Mogelson’s New Yorker article when I knew I wanted to tell this story on film, and with actors from that part of the world, speaking their native language so that someday we might be able to show a larger audience how remarkable the people on this Team are, how they’ve had to live their lives quite literally from one minute to the next, in the broken remains of their city, endlessly fighting a group trying to take everything from them,” Carnahan said in statement.
“By making a film about this subject, in this manner, maybe we could get at a larger truth about just how similar we as decent human beings are — despite differences in language, culture, or religion, we all want the same things for the people we love — it’s just that some people have to wade through hell to have a chance at those things,” he continued.
Endeavor Content is handling worldwide sales at AFM.
Deadline first reported news of the acquisition.