Vox Cinemas Mall of the Emirates was packed to the rafters for yesterday's late night global premiere of Image Nation's latest Arabic feature, Mohammed Saeed Harib's Rashid & Rajab, a body swap comedy with more than a hint of Big about it, albeit with Saturday Night Live Arabia's Shadi Alfons's man-child Rajab standing in for David Moscow's literal 12-year-old in the 1988 Tom Hanks classic.
Click through the gallery above to see all of the stars on the red carpet.
An incredible 1,400-strong guest list saw the film take over five of the cinema's screens for the launch, including cast and crew members such as Harib himself; the film's starsAlfons and Marwan Abdullah; their on-screen wives, played by Egyptian star Doaa Mostafa Ragad and big screen debutant Sheema; the film's producers Majid Alansari and Ali Mostafa, who is taking a break from directing duties; and Rami Yasin, the producer of Zinzana who will soon be making his own feature directing debut under the recently announced Image Nation, MBC and Vox production partnership.
Another Image Nation mainstay is Arabic-speaking, Saudi-born, Jordan-raised, Korean comedian Wonho Chung.
Harib is best known as the creator of popular Emirati cartoon Freej, characters from which also made an appearance both on the red carpet and in the movie.
Rashid & Rajab was Harib's first attempt at directing non-animated actors, and the director told The National ahead of the screening: "Most of all, I'm just really grateful to the guys at Image Nation for giving this opportunity to direct a live action film to a guy who makes cartoons. I can't thank them enough. I hope everyone enjoys it."
Judging by the hoots of laughter and appreciation emanating from the largely Emirati audience in Vox’s screen five, he’s certainly on the right track.
With the film on general release across the Gulf in a fortnight, and just picked up for international distribution in Cannes, we won’t have long to find out if Harib’s film can exchange its reach beyond that home demographic.
Rashid & Rajab goes on general release over Eid