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In a landmark moment for Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning film industry, the English and Arabic-language horror movie “The Cello,” directed by acclaimed filmmaker Darren Lynn Bousman and featuring stars Jeremy Irons and Tobin Bell, is set to premiere in theaters across the kingdom on Thursday. The film, which weaves a spine-chilling tale about a cellist entangled in a centuries-old curse, has generated substantial excitement and robust ticket pre-sales since its grand premiere on September 8 at Riyadh’s Muvi Cinemas multiplex.
Darren Lynn Bousman, renowned for his work on the “Saw” franchise, graced the launch event of “The Cello” alongside several of the film’s Arab talents, including Saudi actress Elham Ali and Syrian actor Samer Ismail, who previously featured in “The Day I Lost My Shadow.” Also present were the film’s U.S. producer Lee Nelson, co-producer Raul Talwar, and executive producer Niko Ruokosuo.
While Jeremy Irons and Tobin Bell were absent from the Saudi premiere, the film itself marked a significant moment as it is being touted as the first Arabic horror movie aimed at the international market. Intriguingly, “The Cello” is penned by Saudi poet and writer Turki Alalshikh, who holds the position of chairman at Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, and the screenplay is based on his eponymous novel.
The financing for “The Cello” comes entirely from Saudi firm Rozam Media, which also possesses all distribution rights to the film. North American audiences can anticipate its release on December 8 through an as-yet-unspecified distributor. The film’s production is a collaboration between Rozam Media, Saudi’s Alamiya, and Lee Nelson’s Envision Media Arts.
Lee Nelson emphasized the global nature of the film’s production, highlighting the diversity of the 250-person crew hailing from various corners of the world. The film stands as a testament to international collaboration, with team members originating from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Canada, Italy, Egypt, Africa, India, Ireland, Tunisia, Jordan, Dubai, and the U.K.
As “The Cello” prepares to cast its eerie spell over Saudi Arabian audiences, it represents not only a significant cinematic achievement but also underscores the country’s ambitions to make a mark on the global film industry stage. With a talented cast, an intriguing storyline, and a truly international production, this horror film promises a unique cinematic experience for audiences both in Saudi Arabia and beyond.