MBC and Image Nation announce production partnership

O3 Productions, the production arm of MBC Group, and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, have announced a new strategic partnership for film and television production.

The first project, under this new partnership, is the adaptation of author Ibraheem Abbas’ best-selling novel sci-fi HWJN into an Arabic-language feature film, which will be co-produced and co-financed by the two companies.

03 and Image Nation are also partnering on a television spin-off of the feature titled The Delusionists, as well as two further television series, details of which will be announced in due course.

Fadi Ismail, Group Director of 03 Productions said: “As 03, this project is a landmark one for us as we are embarking on an exciting journey into an innovative and fresh genre of Saudi drama based on a best seller novel and its exciting world created by the pioneer work of Yatakhayaloon team. We are happy that we are not alone in such a venture but joined forces with Image Nation working closely with its team to produce what we hope will lead to a higher quality of captivating storytelling and production values in film and TV drama in this project and beyond.”

The novel HWJN is a pop culture phenomenon in Saudi Arabia and across the Arab World, having topped bestseller lists across the Gulf by selling over 140,000 legal copies. There have also been over one million illegal downloads, further demonstrating the book that has captured the imagination of the Arab youth across the region.

HWJN tells the story of the friendly, devout Jinn, HWJN, and his friendship with a human Saudi female medical student called Sawsan.

Ben Ross, Head of narrative film and television at Image Nation, commented: “The new strategic partnership between Image Nation and MBC is a further indication of our shared commitment to producing high-quality Arab language film and television for the Arab world.”

“This move reinforces Image Nation’s position as a go-to production partner in the region and adds to our already robust slate of programs across film and television.”

Ibraheem Abbas, author of HWJN, added: “Four years ago our first novel HWJN was rejected by publishing houses because fantasy and science fiction were alien to Arab audiences. We created our own publishing house and exceeded expectations – the Arab public, especially young people, were eager for fantasy and science fiction and our four novels topped the bestseller lists in the region.

“Our fanbase have always asked to see their beloved characters on screen. HWJN, the genie who has removed the barriers between his world and the human world, will finally meet his audience “Face to Face” and we are looking forward to working with Image Nation, MBC and O3 to create a project that appeals to Arab youth  while reflecting Hollywood quality production values to bring the world of HWJN to the screen.”