Saudi filmmaker Abdulaziz Alshlahei (“The Tambour of Retribution,” “Zero Distance”) is set to direct timely drama “Hobal,” about a Saudi family living in isolation in the desert during the early 1990s. The film will be shot in NEOM, the sprawling production hub in Saudi Arabia’s northwestern corner. “Hobal” will be Alshlahei’s third feature, segueing from his groundbreaking social issues drama “The Tambour of Retribution,” about the forbidden love between an executioner’s son and a wedding drummer’s daughter in turn-of-the-century Riyadh. “Tambour” scored two prizes at the Cairo Film Festival, was released on Netflix, and was Saudi Arabia’s submission for the 2022 best international feature film Oscar.
Cameras are set to roll on “Hobal” in September at NEOM’s Bajdah Studios, and in the desert and mountain landscapes along Saudi’s Red Sea coast in Tabuk. NEOM boasts world-class sound stages, a generous 40% plus rebate and local talent and crews. The locally-financed film will benefit from production support provided by NEOM, who are assisting with crew, location scouting, logistics and on-the-ground production expertise.
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