The Royal Commission for AlUla’s film agency announced that it has begun pre-production on Saudi feature film, Norah, which is written and directed by Tawfik Alzaidi. The filming will take place in the historic city of AlUla.

The film will be produced by Black Sugar Pictures and Nebras Films, with producers Paul Miller and Sharif Majali set to be a part of the production team. Norah is Tawfik Alzaidi’s debut feature, which is why the filmmaker made it 100% evident that he plans on making the movie as extraordinary as possible, making it the first ever homegrown feature film to shoot in AlUla.

Courtesy of Film AlUla

The time and place of the film is set to take place in the 90s in Saudi Arabia. It will discuss conservatism at the height of its power, with all forms of art banned. Norah, a young Saudi woman, lives in a village and is introduced to Nader, an artist. So, she requests him to pain her and that’s how the artistic relationship between them develops. Nader’s inspiration grows and takes Norah on a world of possibilities.

Norah explores our relationship to art and as a means of communication between people, its power to inspire and translate experiences that can bring about change. With the inspiring and creative landscape of AlUla as a backdrop, I’m looking forward to bringing this unique story to life,” said director Tawfik Alzaidi.

The location of filming is set to focus on highlighting the natural beauty of the city of AlUla, in which the city chose to open its door for international production in 2020 and since then, has had local, regional and international productions take place within the city.

Courtesy of Film AlUla

Film AlUla will offer support and facilities to the project. The casting process’ main priority is to shed light on local talents within the city, to the make the story more authentic.

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture launched an initiative that support Saudi Arabian filmmakers, by creating a competition titled “Daw Film Competition” in which competitors would send in scripts. The film’s script was the winner of the award.

The Film Commissioner at Film AlUla, Stephen Strachan, said, “Following the success of Kandahar, we’re delighted to welcome the feature film Norah to AlUla. This is the first feature film to use our new film resort with accommodation and offices dedicated for film crew.  This is a great opportunity to provide stunning backdrops for such a unique and authentic independent film, boost the young local crew’s experience, showcase new talented voices, develop creativity and support the entire production every step of the way. It’s an extremely exciting time for Saudi film and TV as we invest in infrastructure, cultivate our attractive financial and support offerings to drive confidence in the industry here, and ultimately attract more productions to cement our position on the global map.”

Kandahar was a Hollywood feature directed by Ric Roman Waugh and starred Gerard Butler. The film wrapped in January and resulted in an impressive shooting experience in both locations, AlUla and Jeddah. The film was an opportunity for Saudi nationals to work across production, art, makeup and more.