Gulf Daily News - 22/5/2006
BAHRAIN's first feature film for children Habbab Wa Keelab Al Sahir (Habbab and the Sorcerer's Dogs) will hit the screens on October 23, it was announced yesterday.
The BD200,000 Arabic film is written, produced and directed by Hamad Al Shahabi.
It is the fourth to be produced in Bahrain and the second for Mr Al Shahabi who directed the movie Bait Al Jin (House of Ghosts) in 1994.
The award winning producer, director and screen writer has done over 15 children's plays since the early 1980s and has written scripts for more than 100 dramas, comedy shows and children's programmes for television in Gulf states and published around 25 short stories.
"I did not face any difficulties in making the film except for meeting deadlines," Mr Al Shahabi told the GDN.
Mr Al Shahabi said film scenes were shot in Bahrain and Oman.
"This is the first film in the Gulf introducing actors from Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia in one project," he said.
"It is also the first time a film was shot on digital cameras and transferred into 35mm."
The one-and-half-hour film will be screened in Bahrain cinemas as well as other Gulf countries, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria and Iran.
The plot and characters of the movie are derived from themes of ancient Iranian, Chinese and Indian tales.
Mr Al Shahabi first got interested in the story when he read a translated copy compiled by Abdulqader Aqeel. He started work on turning it into a script in November 2003 and shooting began last January. The plot dates back to 1,000 years ago and tells the story of a young boy Habab whose father asks him to travel and learn a new skill and teach it to others.
Mr Al Shahabi said the story highlights the importance of education, the conflict between good and evil and the relationship between father and son. The movie also includes 10 songs.
The movie's main character Habbab is played by 23-year-old Bahraini actor Hassan Majid. Other characters include Habbab's father played by Mohammed Yaseen, Juju by Hussain Al Alawi and the narration by Mariam Zaiman.
Mr Al Shahabi said he is currently working on his third movie, called called Fi Qabthat Al Jin (In the Grip of a Spirit) which is based on a true story in Bahrain.
He thanked Southern Governor Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Northern Governor Ahmed Mohsin bin Saloom, Interior Ministry and Information Ministry assistant under-secretary for culture and national heritage Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa for their support.