Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s Arab arthouse film Scales to premiere at the Venice International Film Festival

July 2019 Written and directed by Saudi Arabian Shahad Ameen, this thought-provoking fantasy follows a young girl trying to find her place in society

Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s feature film Scaleswill premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, as part of the prestigious Critics Week competition.

Set in a dystopian landscape, Scales is the story a young girl who embraces her destiny when she stands alone against her family and overturns the village tradition of sacrificing the female children to the mysterious creatures inhabiting the waters nearby. 


A rare Arab arthouse film, Scales (Sayidat Al Bahr)explores the changing role of women in society through the lens of fantasy.  Scales is the debut feature film from Saudi Arabian writer and director Shahad Ameen, based on her award-winning short film.


Shot on location in Oman, Scalesstars Basima Hajjar as Hayat, alongside Ashraf Barhom (Coriolanus, Clash of the Titans, The Kingdom), Yagoub Alfarhan (Ekhtraq, Bedoon Filter, Love Without Limits) and Fatima Al Taei (star of Image Nation’s courtroom drama Justice). The film was produced by Paul Miller and Stephen Strachan of Abu Dhabi-based, Film Solutions and Rula Nasser of Imaginarium Films and, with executive producers Mohamed Al-Daradji and Majid Al-Ansari. 

Scalestells a visceral story about growing up as a woman in a patriarchal society, offering an allegorical take on a universal theme that will resonate with audiences around the world,” said Shahad Ameen. “Relying on simple yet powerful storytelling, it is a very visual experience with minimal dialogue – maintaining a timeless, meditative aspect even in its action scenes. I want to immerse viewers in Hayat’s journey from her own point of view, letting them share in her experience as she finds her true self.”

“This nuanced, artistic project embraces film’s power to address important subjects like freedom and belonging,” said Ben Ross, Chief Content Officer, Image Nation. “Scalesis part of Image Nation’s efforts to expand our slate to encompass more intriguing, specialty films alongside our more commercial projects.  We foresee that Scales will be well-received on the festival circuit. This is a film that brings profound insights into contemporary culture.  We hope that it will bring further recognition of the region’s growing maturity and sophistication.”

 The 76thedition of the Venice International Film Festival will run from 28 August to 7 September. The world’s oldest film festival and one of the most prestigious, Venice is widely seen as a testing ground for future award-winning films. Following a highly competitive submissions process, Scaleswas accepted as part of a line up including premieres from world-renowned filmmakers and A-list celebrities.