JEDDAH: The Saudi feature film ‘Shams Al-Maaref’ (The Book of Sun) will have its world premiere when the Red Sea International Film Festival opens in Jeddah on March 12.
The film directed by Faris Godus, which is produced and topbilled by his brother Suhaib, is also entered in the festival’s In Competition category.
‘Shams Al-Maaref’ captures the spirit of a generation whose lives were transformed by the Internet. Set in 2010, high school senior Husam (Baraa Alem) finds himself drawn into the world of video production, an obsession that takes his focus away from the ordinary pursuits of high school and teenage life.
His best friend Maan (Ismail Alhasan), their one-time foe Ibrahim (Ahmed Saddam) and teacher Orabi (Sohayb Godus) also become preoccupied with the online world and the possibility of a medium that comes to represent freedom to them. The group set out to produce a no-budget horror movie – a wild adventure of self-expression and creativity that their families believe will put their futures at risk.
The Godus brothers came to fame through their efforts in projects such as Telfaz 11 and their acclaimed short film ‘Depressing Scene’ (2016) and the Saudi Ramadan TV series ‘Another Planet’.
The Red Sea Film Festival Foundation supported the film, bestowing a $500,000 production grant via the Tamheed Fund, a one-time award for emerging Saudi filmmakers. The film is one of a number backed by the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation’s broad slate of grants and funds.
Festival Director Mahmoud Sabbagh commented: “An insider’s look at the origins of new cinema in Saudi Arabia, ‘Shams Al-Maaref’ (The Book of Sun) is a fitting opening to the Kingdom’s first-ever international film festival. The Godus brothers have created a testament to the passionate community of pioneering filmmakers, who have inspired and drive Saudi cinema culture.”