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‘Scales’ first UAE film released in US cinemas

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Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s acclaimed feature film Scales has been screening in cinemas across the United States from 9 July 2021, making it the first UAE film to have a commercial release in the US. The film is being released in IFC Center in New York and Laemmle cinemas in Los Angeles. The public launch is being complemented by a series of screenings held in partnership with the Consulate General of the UAE in New York and LA to invite dignitaries and members of the cultural and creative industries to celebrate the film’s release. The debut feature film by Saudi writer and director Shahad Ameen, Scales was produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Saudi Arabia selected the film as its national submission to the Oscars following a multi-award-winning global festival season, including receiving the Best Film and Best Actress awards at the Saudi Film Festival.

About Scales (Sayidat al Bahar)
Through the allegorical, magical-realist tale of Hayat, a young girl who refuses to be sacrificed to mysterious sea creatures by her village, Scales explores the changing role of women in society. Presented in black and white, the poetic film follows the unfolding social, familial and personal consequences of Hayat’s choice to defy tradition and walk her own path. The film premiered in 2019 at the Venice International Film Festival Critics’ Week, where it won the prestigious Verona Film Club award for its innovative filmmaking, and has since been shown at more than a dozen competitive global festivals in cities such as London, Los Angeles, Carthage, Cairo and Singapore where it was awarded Best Picture, as well as regional festivals including Al Ain Film Festival and Saudi Film Festival. It saw a successful run in Saudi cinemas. The film stars newcomer Basima Hajjar as Hayat, alongside Ashraf Barhom (Coriolanus, Clash of the Titans, The Kingdom), Yagoub Alfarhan (Ekhtraq, Bedoon Filter, Love Without Limits) and Fatima Al Taei (star of Image Nation’s courtroom drama Justice). The film was produced by Paul Miller and Stephen Strachan of Abu Dhabi-based Film Solutions and Rula Nasser of Imaginarium Films, with executive producers Mohamed Al-Daradji and Majid Al-Ansari.

About Image Nation Abu Dhabi
Image Nation Abu Dhabi is an award-winning film and entertainment company which has built its reputation on breaking boundaries and unleashing imagination. It creates films, TV series, documentaries, and entertainment for consumers throughout the world and is the first UAE company to have multiple productions stream globally on Netflix. Its success spans the globe, screening content at over 400 international film festivals and receiving the industry’s highest honors, including two Academy Awards, a BAFTA, and an Emmy. Image Nation has a strong track record of producing high-quality productions through a combination of local talent and international expertise. The company encourages original thought and curiosity while providing a platform for inspiration and practical training through its robust development program, Arab Film Studio. Its mission is to help build the film and entertainment industry across the GCC and MENA regions, a pioneering ambition in line with Abu Dhabi’s vision to shape a competitive, sustainable, and globally open economy. Image Nation enables all those who engage with it to become guardians of culture and ambassadors of change. Image Nation Abu Dhabi is part of ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a diverse portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy.

About Shahad Ameen Writer-director
Shahad Ameen was born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Video Production and Film Studies from the University of West London, and also holds a degree in Screenwriting. Her short films include Our Own Musical and Leila’s Window (2011), which showed at the Gulf Film Festival and was named Best Film at the Saudi Film Festival. Her short film Eye & Mermaid (2013) premiered at Dubai International Film Festival 2013 and was selected for competition at Toronto International Film Festival 2014, Stockholm Film Festival 2014 and Kortfilmfestivalen 2014 in Norway. Eye & Mermaid was awarded First Prize in the Emirates Film Competition and Best Cinematography at the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival 2014 and was the winner of the Best Fiction, International Competition at the NDU International Film Festival 2014. Scales was picked as a finalist for the prestigious IWC award at the Dubai International Film Festival 2015. Scales is Shahad’s debut feature film. Filmography:
■ ‘Our Own Musical’ (2009)
■ ‘Leila’s Window’ (2011)
■ ‘Eye & Mermaid’ (2013)
■ ‘Scales’ (2019)

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