MAD Solutions, the prominent Arab distributor of films, has established a production partnership with Dubai-based broadcaster OSN, The Red Sea Fund and the UK-based Global Screen Fund on Saudi director Ahed Kamel’s debut feature film ‘My Driver and I’.
The film’s production partnership was announced at the Red Sea Film Festival this week, which is being held in Jeddah, where the film is also being screened.
Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak will participate alongside regional acting stars Qusai Khader, Mustafa Shehata and Baraa Alem.
The feature is being produced as an OSN Original for the pay-TV and streaming network that will show the film to its audience in the MENA region. MAD Solutions owns all international distribution rights outside of these Arabic speaking territories.
Kamel grew up in Saudi Arabia and moved to New York in 1998, where she studied at Parsons School of Design, the New York Film Academy in 2005 and the William Esper Studio.
Her directorial debut was the 2013 short film “Sanctity”, which was also distributed by MAD. As an actress, she participated in the 2014 film Wadjda – the first feature film to be shot in Saudi Arabia, and its director, Haifaa Al-Mansour, was the first Saudi woman to direct a feature film. Kamel also co-starred alongside Carey Mulligan in the 2018 BBC/Netflix series “Collateral” by David Hare.
The movie “Me and My Driver” follows the story of Salma, a Saudi girl from a wealthy family, and Qamar, a young Sudanese man, who have a close friendship. The photo is based on Kamel’s memories of Jeddah in the 1980s and 1990s. She previously explained to Variety: “I’m making this movie because I grew up with a chauffeur, he practically raised me, took me back and forth to school every day, and when my parents died when I was a teenager, he was the only person who could hold back my group. He really taught me a lot of lessons that I learned it in life, but I only realized this about 10 years ago, after his death.
Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab, founders of MAD Solutions, commented: “Having watched Ahed develop her work full of love over the years, we are very pleased to be part of the production alliance that will finally allow her wonderful story to come to life. Her wonderful story opens a window on life in Saudi Arabia during its formative years, a Saudi world that is now undergoing such a rapid transformation.”
Joe Kawkabani, Group CEO of OSN, added: “It is high time that the untold stories of the region deserve a wider audience, and ‘My Driver and I’ is the embodiment of the stories that deserve a wide medium.”
OSN, which offers premium television programs and streaming content across 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, has announced a plethora of original films and series for the coming year, including the feature film “Yellow Bus” and the Kuwait-based series “Fashionista”.