Saudi Director Abdulaziz Alshlahei to Film "Hobal" in NEOM, Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Director Abdulaziz Alshlahei to Film "Hobal" in NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Director Abdulaziz Alshlahei to Film "Hobal" in NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Acclaimed Saudi director Abdulaziz Alshlahei is set to begin shooting his upcoming feature film "Hobal" in NEOM, northwest Saudi Arabia, in September. The film will take advantage of the picturesque Bajdah Studios and its expansive landscapes to create an epic cinematic experience, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

"Hobal" revolves around a Saudi family living in isolation in the desert during the early 1990s. Following strict instructions from their grandfather, the family is forbidden from leaving the desert. However, a series of events disrupt their lives, leading them into a struggle between life and death. The film features an all-Saudi cast, including Mohammed Altoyan and Mishal Almutairi.

This marks Alshlahei's third feature film, following the success of the Saudi period drama "The Tambour of Retribution," which received accolades at the Cairo Film Festival and was selected as the Saudi Arabian entry for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022.

The script for "Hobal" was written by Mufarrej Al-Majfel, a recipient of a fund award at the Saudi Film Commission's Daw Film Competition. The film will benefit from production support provided by NEOM, which will assist with crew, location scouting, logistics, and on-the-ground production expertise.

The Bajdah Studios' strategic location offers filmmakers the opportunity to shoot in the stunning landscapes of NEOM while having access to state-of-the-art sound stages and supporting facilities. Alshlahei expressed his excitement about shooting in NEOM and thanked the NEOM Media Industries team for their support.

Wayne Borg, managing director of media industries, entertainment, and culture at NEOM, expressed delight in hosting Alshlahei's latest film and highlighted the importance of supporting emerging filmmakers and talent to create a thriving film ecosystem.

NEOM has been a backdrop for numerous local film and television projects in the past 18 months, including productions such as "Desert Warrior" starring Anthony Mackie and Sir Ben Kingsley, "Dunki" directed by Rajkumar Hirani and featuring Shah Rukh Khan, and the reality TV show "Million Dollar Island." Additionally, the region's largest-budget TV show, "Rise of The Witches," has also been filmed in NEOM. MBC's TV drama series "Exceptional" is set to begin shooting in July.

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