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Haifaa Al-Mansour hopes to show ‘fire and courage’ of Saudi women in Nike campaign film

DUBAI: Saudi filmmaker Shahad Ameen is in the production phase of her latest film, “Hijra”, which will be edited in Paris after filming wraps in May.

This is the director’s second film after her first feature film “Scales”, which toured international festivals and was previewed at the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival, where it received the Verona Film Club Prize. “Scales” was also submitted by the Kingdom in the Best International Feature Film category at the 93rd Academy Awards.

Ameen started shooting for “Hijra” in March and is expected to wrap up shooting on May 24, according to a released statement.

A photograph taken on the set of “Hijra”. (Supplied/Ziyad Alzayer)

Filming locations encompass eight cities in the Kingdom: Taif, Jeddah, Medina, Wadi Al-Faraa, AlUla, Tabuk, NEOM and Duba.

The film follows the journey of a grandmother and her two granddaughters from Taif to Mecca. When the eldest granddaughter disappears, they embark on a quest to the north of the Kingdom.

The film stars Saudi talents Khairiya Nazmi, Nawaf Al-Dhufairi and Lamar Feddan.

Once filming is completed, editing will take place in Paris under the direction of Hervé de Luz, known for his work on “Jacques,” “Ghost Writer” and “The Pianist.”

The film’s team also includes Chilean cinematographer Miguel Littin Menz and British set designer Chris Richmond.

In a released statement, Ameen said, “’Hijra’ is one of the most challenging films I have worked on, and we are still halfway there. We film in eight different towns and remote areas. However, the team and I fully believe in the importance of this story, which tells the story of Saudi women of different generations, and the conflict that ensues.

“This is all part of the plot of a road film that highlights the cultural and historical diversity of the Kingdom and highlights that the Kingdom was and still is a refuge for all people who sought safety in this holy land,” she added.

For “Hijra,” Ameen teams up with Iraqi filmmaker Mohamed Al-Daradji, Biet Ameen Production, the Iraqi Independent Film Center, Saudi producer Faisal Baltyuor’s Ideation Studio, Egyptian veteran Mohamed Hefzy, Abboud Ayyash, Sayed Abou Haidar, la Mer Red. AlUla Fund and Film for the production of the film.

Hefzy said: “After collaborating with Shahad on “Scales,” we believe Shahad is on to something very special and more ambitious with “Hijra,” and we are only proud and excited to complete the journey with her and her production team.

The film also received support from the Daw Initiative Saudi Film Commission, Ithra and NEOM.