‘Slave’ & ‘Raven Song’ Take Top Prizes At Saudi Film Festival

Sci-fi thriller Slave (Abed) by Mansour Assad and Raven Song by Mohamed Al Salman took the top prizes at the ninth edition of the Saudi Film Festival, running from May 4 to 12 in the city of Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia.

Slave (Abed) won the festival’s Golden Palm for best film, while Raven Song clinched the jury prize.

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Mansour Assad’s Slave revolves around a couple who make a movie that results in anger and backlash from society. They are given the option of staying in the present or going back in time to rectify the action that enraged their community.

Slave also clinched best screenplay for Rulan Hasan and editing for Assad.

Raven Song follows a man who is wrongly diagnosed with a brain tumor after he starts having hallucinations. The film also walked away with Golden Palms for best cinematography and actor for Asim Al-Auad.

Read the Deadline review for the film and watch a Deadline Studio of the director here and here.

Best actress went to Aseel Omran for her performance in Valley Road about a boy with selective mutism whose trip to the doctor turns into a personal odyssey.

The Abandoned Place by Gigi Hozimah won best sound design.

Iraqi films The Woodman by Koutaiba Al-Janabi and The Last Postman by Saad Al-Essamy shared the prize for best film out of the Gulf region.

The  Saudi Film Festival is organized by the Dammam Culture & Arts Society in partnership with the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture – Ithra, in collaboration with the Saudi Cinema Association and with the support of the Saudi Film Commission of the Ministry of Culture.

The film jury was composed of French producer Daniel Ziskind, Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha and Saudi filmmaker and producer Hisham Fageeh.

This edition included a film competition and a script development laboratory and also expanded its screening program to include curated films from the international, Arab and Gulf region.

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