El Arbi and Fallah, two Belgians in Hollywood
The two directors El Arbi & Fallah produce their films between Brussels and Hollywood.
Adil El Arbi, born on 30 June 1988 in Edegem, is of Flemish and Moroccan origin, and a Brussels citizen by adoption. Also of Moroccan origin, Bilall Fallah was born on 4 January 1986 in Vilvoorde (Flemish Brabant). They both grew up watching Bad Boys and Beverly Hills Cop. Their paths crossed at the LUCA school of arts in Brussels, where they studied film and became friends. Broeders, their graduation short film, won the award for best Belgian student short film at the Ghent International Film Festival (2011). The praise continued with their subsequent achievements, such as Image (2014), Black (adaptation of the book by Dirk Bracke, 2015) and Patser (Gangsta 2018). The symbiosis between the two directors is undeniable, whether regarding the direction of films or series (Snowfall, Scalped). On set they are complementary, with Adil preferring to work on the script and Bilall on post-production. They now sign their films with their first names. The duo have the American dream under their skin; even as children they imagined themselves making Bad Boys 3. Thanks to the success of Black, this dream is becoming a reality. They were propelled onto the international stage and made their Hollywood debut in 2020, when they were commissioned by Jerry Bruckheimer to direct Bad Boys 3, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The duo then returned home briefly to shoot two episodes of the series Grond in Molenbeek, after which they returned to their American dream. Across the pond, film giants are lining up to work with the pair, now known as Arbi & Fallah.
The best of both worlds
Don't worry, they will continue to alternate between American and Belgian projects. In Belgium, they have learned to be creative, in Hollywood the importance of preparing and putting forward creative decisions. They want to work in the international market with Belgian films, as they did with Black and Patser (Gangsta 2018).
They are currently completing the production of Beverly Hills Cop 4 and Ms. Marvel. There's not a minute to lose in Hollywood, as the directors already have a new blockbuster underway with Warner Bros: Batgirl (2022) by Christina Hodson. At home, they are working on a second adaptation of a Dirk Bracke novel, Straks doet het geen pijn meer, another childhood dream come true.
Photo © Shutterstock / Kathy Hutchins