Image Nation Abu Dhabi, MBC STUDIOS and Vox have announced a superstar cast and released the first trailer for the film adaptation of Saudi Arabia’s bestselling novel HWJN, which will hit screens across the region in 2023.
A national literary phenomenon, written by Ibraheem Abbas and rewritten in English by Yasser Bahjat under their co-founded Arabian Science Fiction publishing house Yatakhaylon, HWJN tells the story of HWJN, a kind-hearted Jinn living amongst humans in modern-day Jeddah who must undertake an epic journey to reclaim his birthright, battle ancient evils and maintain harmony between his world and ours, while developing an unexpected romantic connection with Sawsan, a young medical student.
Directed by Yasir Al Yasiri (122, On Borrowed Time) , it will feature a superstar cast including Saudi actors Baraa Alem (The Sun of Gnosis, Route 10) , Nour Alkhadra (The Matchmaker), Nayef Althifery (Rashash) , Alanoud Saud (Blackmail Note, Boxing Girls) and Mohsen Mansour (207)
An exclusive first look at the highly-anticipated film was revealed this week at Red Sea International Film Festival during a panel in which Al Yasiri, alongside Yasser Bahjatt CEO and co-founder of Yatakhayaloon, discussed the journey of bringing this beloved fantasy romance novel to the big screen.
Author Ibraheem Abbas said: “Adapting my novel into a feature film has been an incredible process and I’m thrilled to bring the universe of HWJN to the big screen. The director, cast and crew really understood the vision of the book and I hope that fans of HWJN from around the world will enjoy seeing their favorite characters brought to life.”
Yasser Bahjatt added: “It was an amazing ride to see how our vision of creating a culture around SciFi from Saudi Arabia has blossomed with the production of HWJN. It was incredible to create this cinematic piece just in time for the tenth anniversary of the book’s release, with support from such a talented director and alongside the supportive partners – Vox Cinemas, MBC Studios and Image Nation Abu Dhabi.”
Yasir Al Yasiri said: “As the first homegrown fantasy epic from the GCC, ‘HWJN’ has legions of devoted fans and so it’s a real honor to bring the film adaptation to life with breathtaking filmography and visuals. HWJN will allow audiences to step into a cinematic world of high fantasy, romance and folklore that integrates a new take on Middle Eastern mythology with an authentic contemporary setting. We have an incredibly talented cast and crew making this one of the most exciting regional productions yet.”
‘HWJN’ is one of the biggest projects to date under a landmark production partnership launched in 2019 by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, VOX Cinemas and MBC STUDIOS of MBC GROUP, three of the region’s most significant entities in the content and entertainment sector. The groundbreaking alliance looks to support several film and TV projects per year from inception to distribution, representing a significant boost to the region’s growing film, TV and entertainment industry.
Toni El Massih, Managing Director, VOX Cinemas added, “Saudi Arabia has a long history steeped in storytelling, and we are proud to join forces once again with our trusted partners Image Nation Abu Dhabi and MBC Studios to provide audiences with a window into the rich culture of the Kingdom. Creative and cultural industries are key drivers for a sustainable economy and also have a positive impact on the overall community. We are proud to release HJWN next year, which reiterates our commitment to showcase the region’s untold stories on the big screen and contribute to the realisation of Vision 2030.”
Peter Smith, Managing Director of MBC STUDIOS, added: “We’re tremendously excited to have showcased a preview of the highly anticiapated film adaptation of HWJN at the 2022 edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival 2022. Given the book’s origins, we couldn’t have asked for a better destination to offer a first look of this title.
“It’s important to work with the right partners to build and strengthen the Saudi film industry, offering diverse and interesting stories that appeal to audiences in the region and beyond. We believe the release of HWJN next year can be a turning point for Saudi cinema in the region and beyond.”
Ben Ross, CCO of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, said: “The original tale of ‘HWJN’ is a fantastic example of the rich creativity and storytelling that can be found across the Middle East. Image Nation has always worked to create opportunities for creators and filmmakers to tell stories by and from the region, and it’s clear that there’s huge audience demand for authentic Arabic film and TV content. Our partnership with VOX Cinemas and MBC STUDIOS actively seeks to support top-quality regional projects, and after the success of previous features like Bloodline, we are really looking forward to sharing HWJN with the world in 2023.”