Daw Film Competition, an initiative by Saudi Film Commission, aims to support and empower emerging Saudi film talent, and develop the Kingdom’s burgeoning film industry.
Saudi Film Commission (SFC) has announced that four feature film projects that are winners of its Daw Film Competition have concluded production.
The Daw Film Competition, launched in 2019 by the Saudi Film Commission, aims to support and empower emerging Saudi film talent, and develop the Kingdom’s burgeoning film industry.
The films – Within Sand, written and directed by Moe Alatawi; Raven Song, directed by Mohamed Alsalman; Norah, written and directed by Tawfik Alzaidi; and Derat Ajdadi, directed by Danya Alhmrani – all wrapped filming in August.
Abdullah Al-Eyaf, CEO of Saudi Film Commission, said: “We launched the Daw Film Competition to discover new local talent and empower creative storytelling. Talent development is of strategic significance to our industry and is central to achieving our goals. The competition aims to share authentic Saudi stories and films with the rest of the world, helping us to create a thriving film industry in Saudi Arabia. We are proud of these four filmmakers, and we look forward to creating more quality productions in the future.”
The historical drama Within Sand, which marks Moe Alatawi’s directorial debut, was inspired by the true story of a 23-year-old tobacco merchant ambushed by thieves in the desert, leaving him with only a dagger. Demonstrating the Kingdom’s local capabilities in film production, the film features an all-Saudi cast with 70% of the film crew hailing from Saudi Arabia.
The film, scheduled for release later this year, is produced by Reem Alatawi and Riyadh-based Alsarid Films, and is the first homegrown production to shoot in the unique landscapes of NEOM.
Norah, written and directed by Tawfik Alzaidi, is produced by Black Sugar Pictures and Nebras Films in partnership with established producers Paul Miller and Sharif Majali. Set in Saudi Arabia in the 90’s, the film follows a relationship of artistic discovery between a young woman and a local artist. Tawfik’s directorial debut was shot in the extraordinary destination of AlUla, an area of outstanding natural and cultural significance featuring some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. The all-Saudi cast stars popular talent Yagoub Alfarhan and marks the first film role for 16-year-old Maria Bahrawi.
Mohamed Alsalman’s film Raven Song is a comedy shot in the capital city of Riyadh and produced by Ahmed Mousa and Telfaz 11. The film follows the main character Nasar, who doesn’t feel supported and encouraged by his father, and his infatuation with a beautiful mystery girl at the hotel in which he works. Confiding in his charismatic, overbearing and stubborn best friend Abu Sagr, he convinces Nasar the best way to win her heart is to write a song for her.
Derat Ajdadi is a poignant documentary, focusing on the journey of living with an intellectual disability, directed by Danya Alhmrani and produced by Dania Nassif. Shot in Jeddah, the film portrays six Saudis with intellectual disabilities and follows them for a year in their lives. Their personal journeys are woven with interviews with their families, as they discuss the fears, joys and triumphs of living with a loved one with an intellectual disability. The film takes the opportunity to bring the stories of this underrepresented segment of society into the spotlight.