RIYADH: Saudi-born American filmmaker Todd Nims sees a lot of untapped potential in the Kingdom’s film industry, saying: “From the beginning, I’ve always worked with a lot with Saudi talent.”
“In all my projects I always work with young Saudis. I mean, a lot of us have become big shots now, but I’ve always worked, tried to work, with people that I see have great potential,” he said.
Nims said that it is “exciting to work with real talent and help them get a project out the door.”
The creative director and producer is heavily involved in the Gulf region’s cinema and entertainment development. Nims co-produced “Born a King,” which was filmed in the UK and Saudi Arabia, and had great box office success, and also produced the feature film “Joud,” which screened at the Cannes Film Festival and has been accepted into the Red Sea International Film Festival.
“When I was hired by Ithra, it was to develop the first cinema and programming, and one of the things was to do a film, which ended up being ‘Joud.’ It was a pioneering project. I also worked on the story, and the whole way it’s structured in the format and concept,” Nims said.
He held the film producer position at Saudi Arabia’s hub for inspiring creativity and global culture for six years, establishing the Kingdom’s first cinema, and helping launch the first Saudi Film Days program to provide funding and encouragement for Saudi filmmakers.
Nims was born in Dhahran in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.
“My father worked for Aramco. I was there from a young age till about five. He left for five years, came back here in the Gulf War, was there for the Scuds and all that kind of great stuff, gas masks,” he said.
Nims left the Kingdom in his teens. “Like most people, I left for boarding school at 15. So I would visit all the time through college, and then that was it. You know, you can’t come back after that. So I wasn’t back in Saudi for years. It was only when I made a movie about Saudi Arabia that was actually screened at a few different places in the US that I was eventually invited back to meet Prince Turki Al-Faisal.”
The filmmaker’s accolades include receiving a Silver Dolphin at the Cannes Media and TV Awards, as well as two golds at the New York Festival’s world’s best awards for his short film series “Children of the World.” Additional film credits include producing the Saudi Arabian portion of “Just Like Us.”