The film is screening as part of the festival’s previously announced Arab Spectacular line-up.
The Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF) has announced the World Premiere of HWJN, directed by Dubai-based Iraqi director Yasir Al Yasiri as the Opening Night Gala of 2023. Adapted from the best-selling fantasy novel by Ibraheem Abbas, HWJN combines Arabian folklore elements of fantasy, blended with modern themes.
The novel made first waves in Saudi Arabia in 2013, prior to the opening up of the country, after its pioneering combination of Western sci-fi tropes and Arabic culture and folklore proved a hit with young readers.
The original book was published by Yatakhayaloon, which was founded by Yasser Bahjatt and Ibraheem Abbas.
Produced in collaboration with Image Nation Abu Dhabi, MBC Studios, and Vox Studios, HWJN stands as a testament to the progressive collaboration of creative voices within Saudi Arabia’s cinematic landscape. The screening will feature an introduction by the director and lead cast members, including Nour Alkhadra, Baraa Alem, Naif Aldaferi, Alanoud Saud, Mohsen Mansour, and Shaimaa Al Tayeb.
Set in modern-day Jeddah, HWJN narrates the tale of a kind-hearted jinn, HWJN (Baraa Alem), who embarks on an epic journey to reclaim his royal lineage while grappling with ancient evils to preserve the harmonious balance between his world and ours. Along the way, he forms an unexpected romantic connection with Sawsan (Nour Alkhadra), a young medical student.
HWJN is one of the biggest projects to date under a landmark production partnership launched in 2019 by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, MBC Studios, and Vox Studios, three of the region’s most significant entities in the content and entertainment sector
Speaking about the film, Antoine Khalife, Director of Arab Programmes and Film Classics for the Red Sea International Film Festival, said: “Opening the festival with a highly anticipated film like HWJN is a momentous event. HWJN, a Saudi film produced by major studios, is adapted from a highly successful novel and brings together many Saudi actors for an original story that will undoubtedly captivate our audience. With HWJN, Saudi cinema proves its capacity to bring together talents from across the Arab world at both the production and artistic levels. Through this choice, the Red Sea not only honors Saudi cinema but also all Arab talents, highlighting the remarkable progress that the Kingdom has witnessed in recent times.”
Yasir Al Yasiri, Director of HWJN, added: “The story of HWJN is an epic tale of romance, adventure, and culture that has resonated with millions in Saudi and beyond. Bringing this beloved novel to life as a movie has been an extraordinary journey and a landmark achievement for regional cinema. It’s profoundly meaningful for us to open this year’s Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah – the city where HWJN’s story was born- which plays a pivotal role in the narrative. This premiere is not just a tribute to the film’s journey, but also to Jeddah’s vibrant culture and history, which inspired us immensely. We are extremely proud of what we have created together and eagerly await the audience’s reaction to seeing it on the big screen.”
Co-written by Yasir Al Yasiri, Ibraheem Abbas, Sarah Taibah, and Hussam Alhulwah, HWJN is executive produced by Majid Al Ansari and Saad Al Albutaily, with production by Yasiri’s Axx Productions.
The Red Sea International Film Festival is scheduled to run from November 30 to December 9, showcasing a diverse array of cinematic creations.