First feature film on modern Yemeni life to go global [Archives:2003/672/Culture]

September 29 2003

The film “A New Day in Old Sana'a”, which is yet to be made, is already generating enormous interest worldwide. The movie is set to be screened at 86 film festivals and numerous universities and art centers throughout the world, according to its maker.
The film aims at depicting modern life in the historic city of Old Sana'a and the story will unfold in the course of one day.
British-Yemeni film director, Bader Ben Hirsi, who also directed a few other films on Yemen, says that the filming of the 90-minute film will commence on October 10.
However, the film's landmark status is undeniable. After all, “A New Day” will be the first ever feature film to be made in Yemen.
The shooting will take six weeks and the production will include 68 Yemenis in acting roles, as well as in the crew.
The film is scheduled to premiere in early 2004, which is the year to signal Sana'a as the Arab cultural capital. The film producers have hope that the film could be shown as early as February of next year.
A spokesman from the Yemeni Media Center says that the film will be a “true and honest” portrayal of Yemen, which is “completely different from the negative image that most of the world has.”
“For the most people viewing this film, it will be the first time they ever see images of Yemen,” he said. “The results will be a very positive message.”
Among the other films on Yemen directed by Bader Ben Hirsi is “The English Sheikh and the Yemeni Gentleman”, which is a film showing unique images of Yemen and provides a rare insight into the characters of the colorful Yemeni people and their rich customs.
Under the guiding hand of eccentric Englishman Tim Makintosh-Smith, who has been living as a Yemeni in the ancient city of Sana'a for the past 16 years, Ben Hirsi travels throughout his ancestral homeland. Exquisitely filmed by award-winning cinematographer Koutaiba Al Janabi, the film chronicles their interaction and emerging friendship as they explore the beautiful Yemen countryside.