Coming-of-age drama Hala jumps from Sundance to Apple

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Geraldine Viswanathan appears in Hala, chosen for the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Geraldine Viswanathan appears as the title character in Hala.
Photo: Parrish Lewis/Sundance Institute

One of the films making waves at the Sundance FIlm Festival is Hala, about a Muslim teenager’s struggles growing up in America. Apple likes it so much it bought the worldwide rights.

This is one of a growing collection of movies and TV programs that Apple is expected to weave into a streaming TV service.

Hala is a bildungsroman for our time

In the film, Hala is a 17-year-old who likes poetry and skateboarding. She also likes a boy who enjoys the same things, but her father wants to arrange a marriage for her in the traditional Muslim manner.

Hala was written and directed by Minhal Baig and produced by actress Jada Pinkett Smith (wife of Will Smith). It’s not known how much Apple paid for the rights.

Headed for Apple TV

While Apple has kept quiet about its aspirations in this area, it’s been quietly acquiring the rights to TV shows for many months now. Hala is only it’s most recent acquisition.

Just this month it’s agreed to pay for a film staring Bill Murray to be directed by Sofia Coppola. And the guy who wrote most of the recent X-Men movies is creating a sci-fi TV show for Apple. That’s on top of the dozens of television programs the company is already bankrolling.

The exact plans for the Apple TV streaming service remain a closely-held secret. Mostly. Unconfirmed reports indicate the Netflix and Hulu competitor will launch in the US during the first half of this year. A global debut will come later. It might — or might not — be free to customers who own an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.

Source: Hollywood Reporter