Netflix is wading its way into Egyptian drama with its upcoming Arabic original series Paranormal.
Based on the celebrated book series by the late Egyptian author Ahmed Khaled Towfik, the plot is set in the 1960s and centres on the haematologist Dr Refaat Ismaeil whose life increasingly takes on a supernatural turn.
Towfik is renowned as a regional pioneer when it comes to Arabic Sci-fi literature. He passed away in 2018 at the age of 55 after having published more than 200 novels.
Bringing the novel to the small screen are the suitably ambitious duo of Egyptian producer and Cairo International Film Festival president Mohammed Hefzy and young director Amr Salama, who released the critically acclaimed drama Sheikh Jackson last year.
The series is planned to be shot in various locations around Egypt and more details on the cast will be revealed soon.
"I'm proud to be working with Netflix on bringing to life the Paranormal series, which I hold dear to my heart," Hefzy said. "I'm also excited to be co-operating again with long-time collaborator and friend, director Amr Salama. Together with Netflix, we aim to present a show of international quality and that lives up to the promises and ambitions of Egyptian and Arabic drama."
Salama added that adapting the work of Egyptian literary icon Towfik is a career highlight.
"It was my dream to adapt Paranormal of the late author Ahmed Khaled Towfik and turn it into a drama since I ever wanted to be a filmmaker," he said. "I'm proud to present the books in a new light while still keeping the essence of Paranormal. I can't wait to introduce these exciting stories.
Other Arabic original series on the way
Netflix latest regional venture follows two other production produced in the region. On June 13, Netflix will premiere its first Arabic original series with the Petra set Jinn. The show follows a group of Arab high school students in present-day Amman, who unknowingly invite the forces of a vengeful Jinn in the form of a seemingly normal teenage boy during a school trip to the ancient city of Petra. The series is made up of five 30 to 45-minute episodes and will be available in 26 languages.
AlRawabi School for Girls
To be launched later this year, the show, which will be produced in collaboration with Jordanian media company Filmizion, tells the story of a girl who gets revenge on her bullies, only to find out the truth is more ambiguous. It's been written and directed by Jordanian director, writer and actress Tima Shomali, who previously took part in Netflix's 2017 Ramadan "She Rules" campaign, along with 30 other female content creators and social media influencers, as it celebrated strong female leads, both on and off the screen.