Cello horror film wraps shoot in Saudi Arabia

The English- and Arab-language project, starring Jeremy Irons, is one of many to choose to film in the Middle East country

By Chris Evans 2 Nov 2021

Cello horror film wraps shoot in Saudi Arabia
Jeremy Irons

Darren Lynn Bousman’s horror movie Cello, starring Jeremy Irons and Tobin Bell (Saw), has just finished filming in Saudi Arabia.

Based on a script and novel by Turki Al Alshikh, Cello tells the story of an aspiring cellist who learns that the cost of his brand-new cello is a lot more insidious than he first thought. 

Filming also took place in the Czech Republic on the project, which is produced by Lee Nelson of Envision Media Art (The Ice Road). Exec producers include Sultan Al Muheisen and Niko Ruokosuo of Saudi outfit Alamiya and David Tish for Envision Media Arts. The movie was financed by Saudi firm Rozam Media, which also owns all rights to the film.

This is one of a number of English-language projects choosing to shoot in Saudi Arabia, which has ramped up efforts to increase film, TV and commercial production in the country.

Other recent projects include The Russo Brothers’ Cherry; an AlUla brand campaign commercial directed by Bruno Aveillan; and several travel programmes from MBC and SBC.

Plus, this month production is set to get underway on the Gerard Butler action film Kandahar from Thunder Road.

Saudi Arabia has big ambitions as part of its Vision 2030 strategy to move the economy away from a dependence on oil.

Filmmaker and producer Abdullah Al-Qahtani was appointed CEO of the national film commission in June 2020 and is overseeing the wider strategy to build the local cinema and TV business, and encourage international productions to shoot in the territory.

The Kingdom offers a range of unique looks, from the vast deserts and stunning sand dunes that expand across most of the country to the greener mountain retreats. Date palms, wild grasses and hyacinths flourish in the oasis that pepper the otherwise arid, dry landscape. And exotic Arabian architecture and palatial villas compete with cosmopolitan urban architecture in the bigger cities. 

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