The return of Syrian cinema? Ayman Zeidan to star in first private-sector film in years

The new movie tells the story of a wealthy businessman who goes to absurd lengths in his quest to father a child

Syrian actor Ayman Zeidan, centre, during the shooting of family comedy 'Feek Abb'. Sarab Production via Reuters
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A family comedy starring celebrated Syrian actor Ayman Zeidan has begun filming in Syria, making it the first private-sector production to launch in the war-stricken country in years.

Once a leading powerhouse in regional TV and film, Syria's production industry came to a jarring halt as a result of the decade-long conflict, which has killed more than 500,000 and displaced millions.

In a statement released to Arabic media, Zeidan said his new film has all the nuts and bolts for a successful Arabic comedy and marks an entry point for the return of Syrian cinema.

The film, called Feek Abb (There's a Father in You), which is also being referred to in English as Fake Up, tells the story of a wealthy businessman who, in his desperate attempt to father a child, embarks on an absurd polygamous journey, seeking the advice of swindling psychics and fortune tellers.

Syrian director Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed, left, and prominent Syrian actor Ayman Zeidan reading over lines during the shooting of a new family comedy movie. Sarab Production via Reuters

“The new film will be a gateway to the return of private-sector cinema in Syria,” Zeidan said. “It is a family comedy filled with hilarious paradoxes.”

Zeidan has been a familiar face in regional productions for decades, starring in wildly popular comedies such as the 1997 show Yawmyaat Jamil w Hanaa (The Diaries of Jamil w Hanaa). More recently, he starred in 2019's Darb El Sama (Sky Road), which was produced by Syria’s state-owned National Film Organisation.

The actor said his new film blends satirical events with sincere heartfelt interactions, and has an unpredictable plot that will thrill audiences.

The film’s director Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed said Feek Abb will not only usher a new beginning for Syrian cinema but remind audiences of the country’s former position as a major exporter of Arabic entertainment.

“The work comes as part of our endeavour to reprise the splendour of Syrian productions," he said. "We will launch a work that will bring to mind the good old days of Syrian cinema.

Updated: September 13, 2021, 11:36 AM