Saudi film Norah has international cinema release date

The debut feature from Tawfik Alzaidi was selected in the Un Certain Regard section at this year's Cannes

Norah is the first film from Saudi Arabia to screen at Cannes. Photo: Film AlUla
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Saudi film Norah, which made history as the country’s first selection at the Cannes Film Festival, will be hitting the big screen soon.

The Red Sea Film Foundation has announced the feature – which is backed by the Red Sea Fund – will be released in Saudi Arabia and international cinemas on June 20.

Norah is the feature debut by Saudi director Tawfik Alzaidi. In April, the film was selected in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, screening with 19 other entries from around the world.

The category, established in 1978, runs in parallel to the festival's long-running Palme d'Or competition and is intended to recognise emerging talent and non-traditional narratives. The film earned a Special Mention from the Cannes jury in the category.

Set in the 1990s, Norah takes place before the pursuit of art was publicly supported by the kingdom. The story follows a failed artist turned schoolteacher (Yaqoub Alfarhan), who helps a young girl (Maria Bahrawi) realise her potential in an oppressive rural environment.

Norah is also the first Saudi feature film to be shot at AlUla with an all-Saudi cast and more than 40 per cent Saudi crew. The film had its international premiere at the third annual Red Sea International Film Festival in December, where it clinched the prestigious Film AlUla Award for Best Saudi Feature Film.

In 2022, the Saudi Film Commission announced a 40 per cent cash rebate on films partially or fully shot in the kingdom. Making the announcement at the Saudi Arabia pavilion during the Cannes Film Festival, the authority said the Film Saudi programme is open to all local, regional and international film producers.

Updated: June 01, 2024, 9:07 AM