A milestone for Arab cinema.

A Saudi writer and director, Shahad Ameen, is set to make her debut at the Venice Film Festival next month.

Her fantasy film Scales (Sayidat Al Bahr in Arabic) was created by Image Nation Abu Dhabi and filmed in the UAE, with many of the scenes captured in Oman. It tells a story of a girl named Hayat who shuns the tradition of her village where female children get sacrificed to mysterious sea creatures.

Scales tells a visceral story about growing up as a woman in a patriarchal society, offering an allegorical take on a universal theme that will resonate with audiences around the world,” Ameen explains to The National.


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“Relying on simple yet powerful storytelling, it is a very visual experience with minimal dialogue – maintaining a timeless, meditative aspect even in its action scenes. I want to immerse viewers in Hayat’s journey from her own point of view, letting them share in her experience as she finds her true self,” she adds.

This is a proud moment for Arab cinema as the annual Venice Film Festival is one of the three biggest cinematic events on the calendar, and is seen as an indicator on which features will win big during the awards season.

Past films such as  La La Land, Roma and The Shape of Water have all debuted at the event highlighting the level of competition to enter such a prestigious festival.

The 76th edition of the Venice International Film Festival will commence on August 28.

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