Aquarius Films has secured the development and film production rights to Abdul Karim Hekmat’s acclaimed article “True Love in Nauru” and aims to produce it as the feature film “Paradise”.
“Paradise” is the powerful true story of two men who meet and fall in love in an Australian offshore detention centre. Their relationship becomes a source of life force as they come to terms with institutional indifference and overcome despair, eventually heading towards freedom.
Hekmat’s original article was published in The Monthly, an Australian political and social magazine. Hekmat, who resides in Australia, arrived as a refugee from Afghanistan and spent five months in detention will co-write the screenplay with Roger Monk (“Walking on Water,” “Nowhere Boys,” “The Unusual Suspects”).
“Paradise” will be co-directed by Rhys Graham and Phoenix Raei, an Australian actor-director of Persian descent. Rae, who will be making his directorial debut, has recent performance credits including the Netflix series “The Night Agent,” the Netflix miniseries “Clickbait,” the movie “Black Site,” and the miniseries on the “Stateless” immigration theme. Graham’s credits include “The Turning” and Aquarius’ YA series “The Unlisted” for Netflix and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The film will be produced by Angie Fielder, who earned an Oscar nomination for “Lion,” and Polly Staniford for Aquarius Films, and Osamah Sami, who co-wrote and starred in “Ali’s Wedding.” “Paradise” will be executive produced by Miranda Culley of Aquarius. Script development is funded by Screen Australia and LevelK in Denmark, with LevelK also handling international sales.
“[Hekmat] is an extremely talented storyteller who has captured the triumph of the human spirit. We want to bring this story to the screen because we are so inspired by these brave men who, despite all imaginable odds, prevailed and remained true to their love,” Fielder and Staniford said in a joint statement.
“When Nima and Ashkan told me about their incredible and forbidden love story, I was so moved that I decided to write it down for others to read,” Hekmat said. “This kind of heartbreaking and heartbreaking story, I thought only existed in imaginative literature, however, it is a true love story that happened in the secret and inhospitable place of the Australian Offshore Detention Centre. “
Aquarius’ production and development slate includes: the feature film ‘Most Admired Woman’, based on Sister Kenny’s biography; sci-fi thriller “The Subjugate”, based on the novel of the same title by Amanda Bridgeman; the psychological thriller series “The Geography of Friendship” for Stan and Lionsgate; and the comedy-drama series “Fight Like a Girl”. He is currently in production on the Jocelyn Moorhouse-directed crime drama series “Savage River.”