Carla DiBello’s new documentary ‘Electric Kingdom’ tracks major moments in Saudi Arabia

Carla DiBello, who was photographed at the Rixos Premium Dubai JBR, premiered a new documentary the tells the behind-the-scenes story of Saudi Arabia’s first Formula E. (Arab News)
Updated 08 December 2019

Carla DiBello’s new documentary ‘Electric Kingdom’ tracks major moments in Saudi Arabia

  • US producer Carla DiBello worked with a crew from Los Angeles to capture Saudi Arabia's first Formula E race
  • The documentary premiered at the Washington West Film Festival on Oct. 27

DUBAI: Set to be released early next year, new documentary “Electric Kingdom” tells the behind-the-scenes story of Saudi Arabia’s first Formula E electric car race in 2018 and explores the other firsts in the country, including the first mixed concert, the first female race car drivers hitting a national track and the moment visitors landed on government-issued tourist visas.

Arab News caught up with US producer Carla DiBello at the glitzy Rixos Premium Dubai, who worked with a crew from Los Angeles to capture these watershed moments on film in a project helmed by Oscar-nominated director David Darg.

For DiBello, it was all about showing the world the real face of her new home in the Gulf.

“This was a project that I was so passionate about and I really fought to make because it was so important that I wanted my peers in the US to really see what I experience living in the Middle East,” she told Arab News.

The documentary, which premiered at the Washington West Film Festival on Oct. 27, is particularly important because it portrays a series of firsts in the Kingdom.

“There were many firsts.  It was the first electric car race that was held in the Gulf, it was the first Western concert — Jason Derulo was the very first artist to step on a stage in front of a mixed crowd,” she said.




For the producer, it was all about showing the world the real face of her new home in the Gulf. (Supplied)

DiBello filmed the documentary with a crew from Los Angeles, who she says were surprised by what they found in Saudi Arabia.

“I think a lot of people, especially from my crew in Los Angeles, that came out to visit were just so blown away by the hospitality and the culture and how catering everyone is to everyone’s needs and they really saw a different side of Saudi Arabia that they imagined.”

And that’s one of the main points the former “Keeping up with the Kardashians” producer is keen to get across in her latest documentary.




The documentary was filmed with a crew from Los Angeles. (Supplied)

“I think my purpose in making this was to really be able to show people in America and all over the world what Saudi Arabia really is… it’s not just based on what you see in the media or what’s portrayed,” she said.

BiBello was impressed by the organizer’s ability to pull off the race, despite serious setbacks, including adverse weather conditions at the time.




A poster for the new documentary. (Supplied) 

“It was definitely a challenge waking up at five in the morning to go shoot the day of the race and the track being close to flooded.  So, there were a lot of fun experiences everyday — we woke up to something new or a new challenge. Nowhere else in the world can they pull something off in such a short time and execute it in such a positive way,” she said.


It's a date: Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia Vision Entertainment join hands on new animated series, 'Tamr'

The new Arabic language television series will feature animated adventures with date fruits. Shutterstock
Updated 5 min 32 sec ago

It's a date: Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia Vision Entertainment join hands on new animated series, 'Tamr'

  • The animated television series highlights the rich culture and historic treasures of the Kingdom and beyond
  • The project is currently in pilot production, while series production is slated to begin in 2020

DUBAI; Film and entertainment company Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia-based Vision Entertainment have announced a new joint creative partnership to produce an animated television series that highlights the rich culture and historic treasures of the Kingdom and beyond.

Aptly entitled “Tamr,” the new Arabic language television series will feature animated adventures with the traditional Arabic fruit, dates. 

In an official press statement, Princess Sarah bint Faisal bin Bandar Al-Saud, executive producer and co-founder of the company specializing in producing localized content, said: “We set out to create iconic characters that are rooted in our traditions and culture.

“The palm is such a big part of our history and heritage and the date is a ubiquitous staple in our homes, so we decided to bring the world of dates to life in a fun animated series for the whole family. We are creating this series to embody our rich heritage and culture and hope audiences of all ages across the region will relate to its authentic, homegrown story.”

The project is currently in pilot production, while series production is slated to begin in 2020.

The news comes just days after the iconic date palm trees were recognized by UNESCO in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

“The date palm, knowledge, skills, traditions and practices have played a pivotal role in strengthening the connection between people and the land in the Arab region, helping them face the challenges of the harsh desert environment,” the United Nations agency said in a statement.

Date palms were nominated for consideration by 14 countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.