Abu Dhabi production house Image Nation has once again teamed up with O3 Productions, the drama and film production arm of MBC Group, to co-finance and co-produce a slate of Saudi films for regional and global audiences.
Four feature projects are currently in development as part of the partnership. Genres include action, thrillers, real-life dramas and comedies. The features will aim to film in Saudi Arabia, as well as feature Saudi talent, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Production is set to commence in 2019.
Saudi comedian, actor and writer Fahad Al Butairi, who previously co-starred in Image Nation’s road trip film From A to B, is writing a new project titled Love Above The Law, which will also be included in the new deal. The film tackles the story of a middle class Saudi man, who marries a girl from the rural community of Badiya. Against odds, the two discover they have a lot in common.
A film adaptation of the best-selling Saudi novel HWJN is also in development. Casting is taking place in Saudi Arabia for the film’s leads. The feature is about a devout, God-fearing Jinn, who forges a bond with a female Saudi medical student.
Emirati filmmaker Majid Al Ansari, whose debut film was psychological thriller Zinzana, will direct the feature.
A spin-off TV series, The Delusionists, which will tackle modern Saudi and Arab society, will go into production back-to-back with the film.
“There is so much to be done in this brave new drive and we believe in collaboration with those who have the same ambitions and vision,” said Fadi Esmail, the group director of O3 Productions.
The new partnership comes on the heels of the re-opening of cinemas in Saudi Arabia, after a 35-year ban was lifted.
Ben Ross, head of narrative film and television at Image Nation, added: “This deal really underscores Image Nation and MBC’s shared commitment to producing high-quality Arab language film and television projects for the Arab world.”