Dubai-based distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment has acquired all MENA rights for the Saudi Arabian drama Within Sand, which was the Jury Prize winner at the second Red Sea International Film Festival earlier this month.
Front Row will release the film theatrically in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2023 under the Front Row Arabia label, its joint venture with leading local exhibitor Muvi Cinemas.
The sumptuously shot, desert epic revolves around a young tobacco merchant who breaks away from his trading convoy to get home quickly to his village, where his wife is about to have their first child.
Travelling alone, he’s ambushed by thieves who leave him for dead. His journey becomes a quest to survive in the wilderness with the added threat of a wolf dogging his footsteps.
The drama is Saudi filmmaker Moe Alatawi’s debut feature and features an all-Saudi cast led by Ra’ed Alshammari, Adwa Fahd, Muhand Alsaleh, Fatima Alsharif and Obaid Alwadaani.
Within Sand was the first Saudi Arabian feature to be shot in the country’s burgeoning new mega-city and shooting location NEOM, which is also a partner in the production alongside Riyadh-based production company Alsarid Films and the Saudi Film Commission.
To make the production as authentic as possible, the filmmaker brought a real-life wolf on set.
“We’re delighted to be working with the Within Sand team for the film’s release,” said Front Row CEO Gianluca Chakra.
“We’re eager to support young Saudi filmmakers and Within Sand is the perfect example of the quality of work that they can deliver. It’s a visually stunning piece of work that deserves to be seen on the big screen.”
Producer Reem Alatawi noted the fact that Within Sand is one of the first local films set against the bygone world of Saudi Arabia’s camel convoys and desert lifestyles.
“This is what I believe will be the main attraction for the local audience and worldwide as well. When the film premiered at the Red Sea FF, we were pleased with the response from the local audience,” she said.
“They felt connected to the film through authentic details, the dialect, and the realistic vocabulary. It has been an exciting journey that has spanned more than three years, and we are delighted to be collaborating with Front Row to bring what we have all worked on over these years to audiences throughout the MENA region.”
Within Sand joins a growing number of Saudi Arabian feature titles on Front Row’s MENA slate, which also include the recently released Telfaz 11-produced wrestling world drama Sattar as well as 2021 action thriller Route 10 and upcoming doc Blue Spirit, about the Al Hilal soccer team which is rumored to be on the verge of signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
Recent releases from outside of the MENA region include The Worst Person In The World, Crimes Of The Future, The Son and anime hit One Piece Film: Red.
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