‘Hajjan’: A Saudi Adventure at the Toronto International Film Festival
Egyptian filmmaker Abu Bakr Shawky is basking in the spotlight at the world premiere of his Hajjan at the Toronto International Film Festival. Hajjan is a followup of Shawky’s earlier feature film “Yomeddine”.
But it highlights the journey of an orphan boy called Matar and his camel across a vast desert. Hajjan was filmed along Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast in Tabuk. Matar wants to avenge the death of his brother on the camel race track. As such, he has to become a camel jockey but gets caught up in a fight for his own freedom. Hajjan is a story about a boy and his camel Hofira, who are unaware of the battle lying for them. Its racy, an awe-inspiring.
Omar Alatawi makes his debut as an actor. He plays the role of Matar. The cast includes veteran actors with the likes of Abdelmohsen Al-Nemer, Ibrahim Al-Hsawi, and Alshaimaa Tayeb. Produced by King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture and Egypt’s Mohamed Hefzy, this film is also co-produced by Rula Nasser.
Edward Parodi, Film Constellation head of acquisitions, expressed delight to support exciting Arab talent in Abu Bakr Shawky, who created a captivating adventure across the Arabian desert. He says Shawky showcased a unique viewpoint into the region’s ancestral traditions that have never before been shown on the big screen. Hefzy highlighted that films from Saudi Arabia and other Arab films at Venice and Cannes film festivals are gaining more visibility and interest in the international arena.
He added that feedback has been very positive. “I have strong faith in the movie.” Hefzy shared he rarely has expectations at such festivals or premiere, but with Hajjan its different. He is very optimistic.