Oscars: Egypt Selects 'Sheikh Jackson' for Foreign-Language Category

Sheikh Jackson Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Film-Clinic

Amr Salama's drama about an Islamic cleric who dresses like Michael Jackson bows at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday.

Egypt has selected Amr Salama's Sheikh Jackson, a drama about a bearded hardline Islamic cleric with a secret passion for Michael Jackson, as its candidate for consideration for the best foreign-language film Oscar.

Salama received news of his country's Oscar bid pick Monday while attending the Toronto International Film Festival, where Sheikh Jackson is set to have its world premiere.

"I’m thrilled and honored to be recognized,” Salama said in a statement. "My aim was to be honest from the beginning and I wanted to cross borders with this film and subject. I believe we have done just that."

Sheikh Jackson, co-produced by Film Clinic and The Producers, stars Ahmad Alfishawy and Maged El Kedwany in a drama where the sudden death of the King of Pop sends a former devotee, and now a young imam, into a tailspin.

Sheikh Jackson will bow Friday at the Elgin Theatre to close TIFF's Special Presentations sidebar.