‘Within Sand’: First Saudi film shot in NEOM to hit cinemas across the Kingdom on Feb. 15

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DUBAI: “Within Sand,” the first Saudi film shot in NEOM, will hit cinemas across Saudi Arabia on Feb. 15.

Directed by Mohammed Al-Atawi, the film features an all-Saudi cast and tells a tale of survival and self-discovery. It follows Snam, a 23-year-old tobacco merchant, portrayed by newcomer Raed Alshammari, on his journey across the desert. After being ambushed and left for dead, Snam’s quest to reunite with his pregnant wife turns into a harrowing fight for survival. Snam travels with a wolf trailing him while he struggles on his journey.

The film’s director, Mohammed Al-Atawi, previously spoke to Arab News about the process and challenges of making the film.

“In the film, I wanted to capture a genuine and organic relationship between a man and a wolf. I also focused on presenting the desert of north Saudi in a way that champions its mysterious beauty, not only the harsh nature of a desert,” said Al-Atawi.

The director shed some light on the inspiration behind the film’s name.

“Without spoiling a critical element in the story that inspired the name, the whole narrative takes place in the desert, and we witness Snam’s journey with the wolf, so the environment where the story takes place is significant to the story, and I wanted that to be reflected in the title,” Al-Atawi said.

Discussing the inspiration behind the film, Al-Atawi said: “The story of ‘the wolf companion’ is almost like a folkloric tale in Saudi culture, but it doesn’t have a lot of details about it. Hence, I took creative liberty and tried to approach it with complete creative control but also remain faithful to the original material.”

Meanwhile, producers Reem Alatawi and Jana Dahlawi commented on the production team in a released statement.

“The production included a staff of more than 60 percent Saudis, with the addition of expertise from more than 20 nationalities, as well as valuable local contributions from Tabuk,” said Dahlawi. Reem Alatawi added, “The dedication of the people of the region, especially the Bani Attiya tribe, and their unlimited support, which served as the beating heart of the production stage, in addition to our commitment to environmental sustainability, which reflects NEOM’s principle of ‘nature first’, ensuring that our practices are environmentally friendly.”

The production received full logistical support from NEOM Media Industries and is also Alsarid Films’ debut release.