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‘Bad Boys For Life’ Filmmakers to Direct Muslim Coming-of-Age Story ‘Rebel’

Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah also co-wrote the screenplay with Jan Van Dyck and Kevin Meul

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the directors of “Bad Boys For Life,” have set their next film “Rebel,” a coming-of-age story of a teenage Muslim boy that they describe as a “true passion project.”

The film is described as a nuanced portrayal of a family torn apart over a little Muslim boy’s future and how he’s driven by song, rap and dance.

“Rebel” stars Amir El Arbi, in his feature film debut, Aboubakr Bensaihi and Lubna Azabal. After his father’s death, Nassim, a 13-year-old Moroccan boy from Molenbeek, is looking for an identity. His mother Leila anxiously tries to keep him away from his older local gangster brother, Karim. At this young age, Nassim needs to decide what the rest of his life will look like.

El Arbi and Fallah co-wrote the screenplay with Jan Van Dyck and Kevin Meul. “Rebel” is being produced by Caviar in co-production with Beluga Tree, Calach Films and Le Collectif 64.

Bert Hamelinck and Dimitri Verbeeck are producing. Diana Elbaum from Beluga Tree, Jesus Gonzalez from Calach Films, and Marc Dujardin from Le Collectif 64 are co-producing. Robin Kerremans, Clarissa Vermaak and Sacha Ben Harroche are executive producing.

“‘Rebel’ is a true passion project,” the directors said in a statement. “It is deeply personal for us to be able to tell this story about our generation, and those look for identity. We’ve assembled a powerful creative team and are excited to finally bring it to the big screen.”

El Arbi and Fallah’s “Bad Boys for Life” came out in January of this year and is still the highest grossing film of 2020. The Moroccan-born, Belgian filmmaking duo first directed “Black,” a Romeo & Juliet” style drama set in the world of organized crime in Belgium, which won the Discovery section of the 2015 Toronto Film Festival. They also did establishing episodes of the FX series “Snowfall.”

Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), VRT, Kinepolis Film Distribution, Telenet, Screen Flanders, Caviar Film Financing and Creative Europe Media are providing financing.

Wild Bunch International is handling international sales and will introduce the project to buyers at the virtual Cannes market.

El Arbi and Fallah are represented by CAA, Management 360, and Karl Austen. CAA Media Finance will represent the film’s North American rights.

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