Saudi Arabia’s ‘Scales’ Enters the Oscars Race

The Kingdom’s breakout film goes international

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Scales, the black and white Saudi Arabian film that snagged the Verona Film Price at Venice Film Festival last year, has officially been submitted to represent the Kingdom at the upcoming Academy Awards

The news comes weeks after the Oscars submission deadline, which saw Amjad Abu Alala’s You Will Die at Twenty make history as Sudan’s first ever submission. But that didn’t stop Scales from becoming a last-minute contender, alongside a few other films. 

Directed by Saudi Arabian filmmaker Shahad Ameen, Scales is set in a small fishing village where female children are typically sacrificed to mysterious mermaids. The film is centered around a young girl, Hayat, who refuses to abide by the tradition. 

15-year-old Jeddah-born actress Baseema Hajjar takes on the role of Hayat, while Yaqoub Alfarhan plays her father. The film premiered at Venice Film Festival last year, and has been screened at various cinemas across Saudi Arabia, having made its theatrical release in the Kingdom last month. 

As for its position in the Oscars race, Scales will go through a series of screenings before the Academy announces nominees for its Best International Feature Film category, with winners announced at a ceremony scheduled to take place in April.

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