The film will be produced as an OSN Original, demonstrating a growing commitment to investing in local premium talent-led productions.
OSN has announced a partnership with Red Sea Fund and MAD Solutions, with Caspian Films and executive producers Corniche Media to produce OSN Original My Driver & I. Written and directed by Saudi actress Ahd Kamel, the film is also co-produced by Jeddah-based production companies Yellow Camel and Millimeter.
Actress Kamel made her directorial debut with the 2013 short film Sanctity, which MAD also distributed.
The announcement of the film was made at an exclusive dinner event held in Jeddah during the Red Sea International Film Festival on December 6, with industry leaders from the Saudi Film Commission and the Red Sea Fund in attendance, as well as members of the cast, including Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak and regional talents Mostafa Shahata and Baraa Alem.
MAD Solutions holds all international distribution rights outside those Arab-speaking territories.
Speaking about the film, Ahd Kamel said: “I have been developing My Driver & I for several years and I wanted to base the film on my memories of Jeddah in the 1980s and 90s. Witnessing Salma’s universal journey through adolescence, against the backdrop of societal expectations, is certainly a theme that tugs on the heartstrings of all audience alike.”
My Driver & I follows the story of Salma, a young Saudi girl from an affluent family and Gamar, a young Sudanese man. Gamar moves to Jeddah after being employed as Salma’s driver and their relationship quickly develops into an intimate friendship that lasts throughout her teenage years and beyond. It is a story of independence and finding family in the most unexpected places.
Joe Kawkabani, Group CEO at OSN, added: “It’s time the region’s untold stories deserve a wider audience, and ‘My Driver & I’ is the embodiment of stories that deserve an expansive medium in the very city that the film is set in and there no better platform than The Red Sea Film Festival to make this announcement.”
My Driver and I is supported by the UK Global Screen Fund – financed by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and administered by the BFI. The fund’s International Co-production strand supports UK producers to work as partners on international co-productions and help create new global projects. The UK producers are Georgie Paget and Thembisa Cochrane of Caspian Films. The director Ahd Kamel is based in the UK.
Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab, co-founders of MAD Solutions, commented: “Having watched Ahd develop her labour of love over the years, it gives us so much joy to be part of the production alliance that will finally allow her exquisite story to come to life. Her wonderful story opens a window on life in Saudi Arabia during her formative years, a Saudi world that is now undergoing such rapid transformation.”