‘CHAMPIONS’ – The Movie Starts Filming in Saudi Arabia


CHAMPIONS  Produced by Oscar-Winner Andrés Vicente Gómez and Starring Yassir Al Saggaf and Fatima Al Banawi.

Al Maha Al Arabi Production (KSA) in association with Creative Media Solutions (UAE).

This week, the feature film “CHAMPIONS” has begun shooting in Jeddah with filming scheduled for seven consecutive weeks.  The 90’ minute film, produced by Oscar-winning producer Andrés Vicente Gómez and directed by Manuel Calvo, tells the story of Khaled an assistant coach at Ittihad in Saudi Arabia’s top football league. One day, after a stressful match, his frustration and bad attitude land him in sports court. He loses his job and is sentenced to the worst possible punishment for his ego: coaching a group of players with intellectual disabilities that have never touched a ball before as a professional team. Through their innocence, tenderness and plenty of good humour, they will teach Khaled about the things that really matter in life and how much he has to learn from them.champions-the-film-2-copy

Starring Yassir Al Saggaf, the famous host of The Voice (MBC) talent show alongside Fatima Al Banawi of Barakah Meets Barakah, the film will be co-starred by Jeddah-based people with intellectual disabilities, many of them recruited from the Help Center with the aid of its director, Maha Al Juffali.

A crew of 90 film professionals from Saudi Arabia and Spain will be filming in various locations of the cities of Jeddah and following that, Dubai.champions-the-film-3-copy

CHAMPIONS” is a remake of Spanish top-grossing film “Campeones” adapted to the Arab market by Saudi scriptwriters Maram Taibah and Wael Al Saeed. The original Spanish film garnered strong media attention, making an impact with its positive message and shifting the perception on people with special needs: the film captured the actors as unique and talented human beings capable of having a fulfilled life of their own. The film and its main characters definitely set a life example for the rest of the society – their sense of humour, sensibility, kindness and respect, shines through in the film.

The film-makers were inspired to make this film in Saudi Arabia not only due to the commercial success and the social awareness that was raised of people with special needs in Spain but also by the true story of the Intellectual Impairment Saudi Football team, which managed to be Champions – four times in a row- of the International Intellectual Impairment tournament.


Horror Thriller Underwater Starring Kristen Stewart Release Throughout Saudi Arabia on The 9th January


A Mysterious threat. An isolated location. Survival is not guaranteed.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 2019 – Gripping horror science fiction film UNDERWATER will be releasing across cinemas in Saudi Arabia on the 9th January.  The non-stop thrill ride sees a crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. But the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear.

UNDERWATER stars Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Snow White and the Huntsmen), Vincent Cassel (Oceans Twelve, Black Swan), Jessica Henwick (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), John Gallagher, Jr., Mamoudou Athie and T.J. Miller. The film is directed by William Eubank (The Signal) and was written by Brian Duffield (Insurgent) and Adam Cozad (The Legend of Tarzan) from a story by Duffield. Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Tonia Davis produce and Kevin Halloran executive producers.

There was only one actress Eubank said he could envision as their lead Norah: Kristen Stewart. “She’s so dramatic, and she’s so charismatic,” says Eubank. “Her face, without her even saying anything, delivers so much. The things that she’s able to do subtly, with just a nuanced facial expression, are incredibly powerful.”

Starring alongside Kristen Stewart is Vincent Cassel who plays the Captain of the Kepler Station, Lucien.  “Vincent has an amazingly powerful, enigmatic air about him that just screams captain of an underwater mining vessel,” Eubank says.

In 1979, Ridley Scott’s landmark Alien brought the horror genre to outer space. In 1989, James Cameron plunged a submarine crew into danger below the depths in The Abyss. Tapping into what both of those films did best and introducing exciting characters and creatures that feel entirely new, UNDERWATER offers sci-fi and horror fans a compelling, visceral adventure set seven miles beneath the surface of the ocean and anchored by a fearless central performance from critically acclaimed actress Kristen Stewart.

“The simplicity of the concept initially drew me to the film,” says producer Jenno Topping. “The movie follows a group of individuals attempting to move from point A to point B on the bottom of the ocean while outrunning a monster. This type of structure and its affiliated themes felt original within the thriller-horror space. It built upon the traditions of both of those genres while exploiting a really cool mysterious environment: the bottom of the ocean where 95% of it has yet to be explored.”


Saudi Hip Hop Artist Qusai and Raya Abirached Confirmed as Voice Cast in the Arabic Version of ‘Spies in Disguise’


Animated spy comedy ‘Spies in Disguise’ from Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox will release in Arabic Language across Cinemas in the GCC on the 26th December 2019.

The local version of the animated film Spies in Disguise is set to release across cinemas in the GCC and will feature the voices of Saudi Hip Hop Artist Qusai alongside Lebanese television presenter Raya Abirached (Scoop with Raya, Arabs Got Talent).

Qusai voices the character of Lance Sterling who is played by Will Smith in the original version of the film with Raya Abirached joining in a supporting role that will give Arab audiences the opportunity to enjoy the film in their native language.

Spies in Disguise follows two characters who are exact opposites, super spy Lance Sterling and scientist Walter Beckett. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is … not. But when events take an unexpected turn, this unlikely duo are forced to team up for the ultimate mission that will require an almost impossible disguise – transforming Lance into the brave, fierce, majestic… pigeon. Walter and Lance suddenly have to work as a team, or the whole world is in peril.

One of the first Arabic Hip Hop artists, and widely considered as the first Saudi Arabian rapper. Qusai is born in Riyadh and raised in Jeddah and is one of the leaders in the Middle East Hip-Hop movement also with involvement in many independent projects in the United States. This is not the first time that he has paired up with Raya Abirached with the pair hosting Arabs Got Talent on MBC4.

Speaking about his involvement in the film, Qusai said “As soon as I was approached to voice the character played by Will Smith in the original version, I felt an immediate connection. Lance Sterling is an incredible character with humour and wit and I really wanted to do the role justice’. Continuing with his way with words Qusai added “Spies in Disguise, made me realise such a beautiful surprise, that is joyful to the family eyes. The film is smart, funny and hugely entertaining and I can’t wait for audiences in the Middle East to watch it”.sid_arabic-poster-lr

Recording of the Arabic version took place in Cairo at Al Masreya Media under the guidance of dubbing director Tarek Ebeid.

Spies in Disguise releases in the Original English language version and the Arabic language version across cinemas in the GCC on the 26th December 2019.


Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones Star in Eagerly Anticipated Sci-Fi Thriller ‘AD Astra’


To the Stars! Ad Astra premieres at the 76th Venice Film Festival and releases in Saudi Arabia Cinemas 19th September.

AD ASTRA, releasing throughout Saudi Arabia on the 19th September, is  a sci-fi thriller set in the future starring Brad Pitt as an elite astronaut who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. Ad Astra, which means ‘to the stars’ in Latin explores his journey to uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.

Leading star Brad Pitt who plays Roy says of the film and Director, Producer and Writer James Gray; “It’s a film I think that has its roots in ‘70’s films, as James’ vernacular seems to be born from.  Meaning that it’s contemplative. It unfolds. And we have big moments of action and spectacle that on the big screen is pretty jaw-dropping.”ad-astra-movie-still-copy

To portray Roy’s revered and enigmatic father, Clifford, the filmmakers cast Academy Award-winner Tommy Lee Jones.  Speaking about the film Jones comments; “I love science fiction, and I thought this story and this screenplay were really cool.”  Jones describes his character as “a great astronaut, an explorer, who becomes a dangerous man. A lost man.”

James Gray recalls his initial inspiration for the film came when he was reading about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, known as the ‘architect of the Nuclear Age’, who believed there was a 90 percent chance that the southwestern part of the United States would be destroyed when they split the atom for the first time.

“They weren’t completely sure that the chain reaction wouldn’t keep continuing,” explains Gray.  “I found that extremely alarming and I thought, how would that be if you had nothing to lose and you were in deep space?  There’s no end to what experiments you might be willing to undergo or to perform. “Then I started thinking about Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ and the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’.  The idea came from there. It was Heart of Darkness and an attempt to embrace the imagery and the mood of the Apollo and Mercury missions.

One doesn’t make an authentic science-fact-fiction film without some real data from the experts.  For that, the filmmakers turned to NASA, along with other space agencies. Retired astronaut Garrett Reisman, who flew two Space shuttle missions to the International Space Station.  Another resource was Aerospace Engineer Robert Yowell, a 30-year veteran of the Space program, beginning in 1989 as an engineer with NASA.

“James wanted as much realism as possible on this film,” says Yowell.  “I read the script and pointed out some suggestions. What he was looking for in terms of realism was the physics.  For instance, could you fire a gun on the Moon? The answer is yes, a standard gun will work in space; a bullet has its own oxidizer,” concludes Yowell.

The movie releases throughout Saudi Arabia  the 19th September, the official trailer can be viewed here

Ad Astra will premiere at the 76th Venice International Film Festival which kicks off on the 28th August 2019, marking the beginning of the movie-awards season. Over recent years, the Venice International Film Festival has become a first clearinghouse for some of the year’s most prestigious film fare.

Directed by James Gray
Written By James Gray and Ethan Cross
The film was produced by Plan B Entertainment’s Academy Award-winning principals Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner along with James Gray, Anthony Katagas RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira and New Regency Pictures’ Arnon Milchan
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland.


Film Starring Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried and the Voice of Kevin Costner Is Out In Saudi Arabia Cinemas this Eid Al Adha


Based on the best-selling novel ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ tells heartfelt tale narrated by a witty and philosophical dog named Enzo.

Based on Garth Stein’s beloved novel, which spent three and a half years on the bestseller list and has been translated into 38 languages, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN stars Milo Ventimiglia (CREED II, ROCKY BALBOA), Amanda Seyfried (‘MAMMA MIA!, LES MISERABLES, TED 2) and the voice of Kevin Costner (HIDDEN FIGURES, JACK RYAN SHADOW RECRUIT, MAN OF STEEL) as Enzo, the philosophical dog, who narrates the tale.

Through his bond with his owner, aspiring Formula One race car driver Denny Swift, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition and understands that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life.  The film follows Denny and the loves of his life: his wife, Eve, their young daughter Zoë, and ultimately, his true best friend, Enzo.

Like the novel, the film is narrated by the wise and philosophical dog, Enzo. Director Simon Curtis (Goodbye Christopher Robin, My Week with Marilyn) says; “Enzo’s brilliant voiceover is very insightful. Sometimes it’s very accurate, sometimes it’s flawed, but that’s part of the enjoyment.  Sometimes he gets it right, sometimes he gets it wrong, but he’s a very well-meaning dog who wants to learn in the hope that he can come back as a human in his next life.”

Actor Milo Ventimiglia comments: “What I loved about the script was this journey this man had. You understand the focus of a race car driver and the bumps along the road, the rain that happens and the unexpected events that can take us off course – I saw that in Denny’s life. I really love the journey of where Denny started and where he ended, and everything we get to experience along the way, with regards to being a father, a husband, a best friend to Enzo and also being a race car driver.”

Ventimiglia feels that until he meets Eve, “Denny was one-half of an equation and he didn’t even know it. When Eve comes into his life, he’s whole. All of a sudden, he finds his real purpose. He even finds his passion for what he was already quite passionate about, his racing.”

Actress Amanda Seyfried who plays Eve had read the novel when it was first published. “It was a heartbreaker,” she says. “Anything including a dog can get really emotional because they’re so pure and they’re animals and we love them. It’s a great story about family.”

Seyfried is a bona fide dog lover. “It’s their wide-eyed innocence, their playfulness and curiosity. They just want to love you and be and they live in the present. We could all learn from that – that’s a big giant challenge for us humans to live in the present.  I can’t get enough of being around them. Another reason this movie was so perfect for me is – I was promised a dog in every scene!” she laughs.

While Kevin Costner gives voice to Enzo, on-screen Enzo is played by two-year-old golden retriever Parker, and eight-year-old Butler, who plays him as an older dog. The impeccably-trained canine movie stars were both rescue dogs.

Perhaps best known for his starring roles on TV’s Gray’s Anatomy as well as such films as Enchanted, Made of Honor and Sweet Home Alabama, Patrick Dempsey is also a producer and an accomplished race car driver.  He came across the novel just before it was published in 2008.

The Art of Racing in the Rain released across cinemas in Saudi Arabia on the 8th August 2019.

The film’s trailer can be viewed here.