Image Nation Abu Dhabi Black And White Dystopian Fantasy Feature Film SCALES Opens At Cinemas Across Saudi Arabia On November 12
The black and white dystopian fantasy from Saudi Arabian writer-director Shahad Ameen has its first theatre release following an award-winning global festival run
After achieving critical acclaim during an award-winning tour of global film festivals, Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s feature film Scales (Sayidat Al Bahr) will be screening in cinemas in Saudi Arabia this week, after it was picked up by Saudi distributor Cinewaves Films.
Viewers will be able to experience the debut film from Saudi Arabian writer-director Shahad Ameen in cinemas across Riyadh, Jeddah, Tabuk, Jizan and the Eastern Province in its first theatrical release.
Shahad attended the film’s Saudi Arabian socially distanced premiere last night at AMC cinema in Riyadh, accompanied by the film’s stars Yagoub Al Farhan and Basima Hajjar. The screening was followed by a live Q&A session between the cast of the film and a variety of well-established filmmakers, critics, media and cinema enthusiasts.
Scales explores the changing role of women in society through the poetic story of Hayat, a young girl who refuses to be sacrificed to mysterious sea creatures by her village. The black and white film follows the unfolding social, family and personal consequences of Hayat’s choice to defy tradition and walk her own path.
It premiered in 2019 at the Venice International Film Festival Critics’ Week, where it won the prestigious Verona Film Club award for its innovative filmmaking, and has since been shown at more than 10 competitive global festivals in cities such as London, Los Angeles, Carthage, Cairo and Singapore where it was awarded Best Picture.
“Scales explores universal themes of belonging and self-determination, but as a Saudi Arabian filmmaker, I feel it has a special significance for audiences in my home country,” said the film’s writer and director Shahad Ameen. “Through an allegorical tale, the film reflects on experiences that many women around the world have lived through, with a message of empowerment and independence that resonates with the region’s cultural and creative evolution, so I am delighted that its first cinema release in the world will be in Saudi Arabia.”
Scales stars newcomer Basima Hajjar as Hayat, alongside Ashraf Barhom (Coriolanus, Clash of the Titans, The Kingdom), Yagoub Alfarhan (Ekhtraq, Bedoon Filter, Love Without Limits) and Fatima Al Taei (star of Image Nation’s courtroom drama Justice). The film was produced by Paul Miller and Stephen Strachan of Abu Dhabi-based Film Solutions and Rula Nasser of Imaginarium Films, with executive producers Mohamed Al-Daradji and Majid Al-Ansari.
Scales was produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the award-winning film and entertainment company which has built its reputation on breaking boundaries and unleashing imagination. With a strong track record of producing high-quality productions through a combination of local talent and international expertise, Image Nation’s successes have spanned the globe, and it counts two Academy Awards, a BAFTA and an Emmy as well as more than 400 screenings at prestigious film festivals among its honors.
Scales will show in the following cinemas:
- AMC: Al Khair, Panorama and Riyadh Gallery (Riyadh), Hafr Al Batin (Eastern province)
- Muvi: Arab Mall (Jeddah), Dhahran Mall (Eastern province), Al Nakheel mall (Riyadh)
- VOX: Al Qasr, Riyadh Park, Riyadh front, Atyaf (Riyadh), Tabuk
- Empire: Jizan
About Shahad Ameen
Writer-director Shahad Ameen was born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Video Production and Film Studies from the University of West London, and also holds a degree in Screenwriting. Her short films include Our Own Musical and Leila’s Window (2011), which showed at the Gulf Film Festival and was named Best Film at the Saudi Film Festival.
Her short film Eye & Mermaid (2013) premiered at Dubai International Film Festival 2013 and was selected for competition at Toronto International Film Festival 2014, Stockholm Film Festival 2014 and Kortfilmfestivalen 2014 in Norway. Eye & Mermaid was awarded First Prize in the Emirates Film Competition and Best Cinematography at the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival 2014 and was the winner of the Best Fiction, International Competition at the NDU International Film Festival 2014. Scales was picked as a finalist for the prestigious IWC award at the Dubai International Film Festival 2015. Scales is Shahad’s debut feature film.
- 'Our Own Musical' (2009)
- 'Leila’s Window' (2011)
- 'Eye & Mermaid' (2013)
- ‘Scales’ (2019)
About Image Nation Abu Dhabi
Image Nation Abu Dhabi is an award-winning film and entertainment company which has built its reputation on breaking boundaries and unleashing imagination. It creates films, TV series, documentaries and entertainment for consumers throughout the world and is the first UAE company to have multiple productions stream globally on Netflix. Its success spans the globe - screening content at over 400 international film festivals and receiving the industry’s highest honors, including two Academy Awards, a BAFTA and an Emmy.
Image Nation has a strong track record of producing high-quality productions through a combination of local talent and international expertise. The company encourages original thought and curiosity while providing a platform for inspiration and practical training through its robust development program, Arab Film Studio.
Its mission is to help build the film and entertainment industry across the GCC and MENA - a pioneering ambition in line with Abu Dhabi’s vision to shape a competitive, sustainable and globally open economy. Image Nation enables all those who engage with it to become guardians of culture and ambassadors of change.
Image Nation Abu Dhabi is part of ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a diverse portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy.