Hwjn: Saudi fantasy blockbuster to open Red Sea International Film Festival 2023

One year after its trailer was shown in Jeddah, the full feature will hit the city's big screens

The film, which follows a kind-hearted jinn in Jeddah, is inspired by Ibraheem Abbas's bestselling book. Photo: Image Nation Abu Dhabi
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A film based on a popular Saudi fantasy romance novel will open this year's Red Sea International Film Festival.

Hwjn, pronounced "haw-jen", is the curtain-raiser for the 10-day Jeddah showcase, which launches on November 30.

The film, which is also set in Jeddah, tells the story of a kind-hearted jinn who lives unseen among humans. He soon develops an unexpected connection with Sawsan, a young medical student.

But as he unravels the truth of his royal lineage, he finds himself embarking on an epic journey to reclaim his birthright and battles ancient evils to maintain the balance between his world and Sawsan's.

"It's profoundly meaningful for us to open this year’s Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah – the city where Hwjn's story was born, and which plays a pivotal role in the narrative," Iraqi director Yasir Alyasiri says.

"This premiere is not just a tribute to the film's journey, but also to Jeddah's vibrant culture and history, which inspired us immensely.

"The story of Hwjn is an epic tale of romance, adventure and culture that has resonated with millions in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Bringing this beloved novel to life as a movie has been an extraordinary journey and a landmark achievement for regional cinema."

The book was written by Ibraheem Abbas and released in 2013. It became a bestselling novel in Saudi Arabia.

The film features a predominantly Saudi cast including Baraa Alem as Hwjn and Nour Alkhadra as Sawsan. Other cast members include Nayef Althifery, Alanoud Saud and Mohsen Mansour.

A teaser trailer for the film was unveiled at last year's festival.

Hwjn is one of the biggest projects to date under a landmark production partnership launched in 2019 by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Vox Studios and MBC Studios, three major names in content and entertainment in the region. The alliance supports film and TV projects from inception to distribution.

Red Sea International Film Festival will run from November 30 to December 9. More information is available at redseafilmfest.com

Updated: November 16, 2023, 2:53 PM