The latest title from Egyptian filmmaker Abu Bakr Shawky, the man behind Cannes 2018 favorite Yomeddine, is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Hajjan, which is being hailed as a Saudi film, is described on the TIFF website as a “renegade, mythic coming-of-age adventure from director Abu Bakr Shawky set in the legendary, high-stakes world of Bedouin camel racing.”
Set in the Kingdom, the film tells the story of Matar, who becomes a camel jockey after the loss of his brother. What starts as a tale of revenge soon turns into a quest to ensure the survival of his trusted camel and partner, Hofira. Most of the film has been shot in the picturesque expanse of the Tabuk region and becomes a mirror to the arid beauty of Saudi. More notably, the story emerges as an ode to camels, animals that are not only integral to the region but have often been its emblem.
The film is a collaborative production between Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, or Ithra, and Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic. Written by Omar Shama from Egypt and the Kingdom’s Mufarrij Almajfel Hajjan stars Saudi actors Abdulmohsen Al-Nemer, Ibrahim Al-Hsawi, Alshaimaa Tayeb, Azzam El-Nemr, Tuleen Barbood, and Omar Alatawi who will also be appearing in Dessert Warrior starring Anthony Mackie, Ben Kingsley, and Ayesha Hart.