"Saleem" a Jordanian 3D film competing at the Annecy International Festival in France
The Jordanian animated film, "Saleem", has been selected to participate in the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The 3D long animation feature film , produced by the Jordanian Digitales Company and directed by Cynthia Madanat Sharaiha, deals with issues related to mental health through the story of a Middle Eastern child, Saleem, who lost his father and was forced to flee due to the war with his mother and siblings.
"Saleem" was selected to compete in the International Festival which will be held next June from among 3,338 other films from 112 countries. Saleem will compete with eleven other films in the "Contrechamp" category.
Director Cynthia Madanat Sharaiha says, "The film comes from the heart of Jordan carrying a story that we hope will touch the hearts of everyone around the world who watches it." The director refers to the stages of production that the team went through. “While working on the film, we went through a personal journey that took us through our childhood memories and experiences that helped us empathize with Saleem and see the world through his eyes. We felt his pain, fear, and frustration, as well as his strength and hope which grew with the passage of the story. This is not only Saleem’s story, but rather the story of millions of children around the world. This film shows children’s plight and highlights the courage that is generated within them even in the most difficult circumstances.”
Executive Producer Shadi Sharaiha, spoke about the difficulty of producing a film that took four years to make. "We are proud that Jordan produced a film of this quality and impact. “Talented Jordanian artists, worked here in Amman, alongside international artists who worked for major studios, such as Disney and DreamWorks, these international artists joined our team because of their belief in the value of this artwork, which enriched its quality, this was a wonderful opportunity for local talents to engage with them.”
Mohannad Al-Bakri, Executive Managing[CS3] Director of the Royal Film Commission Jordan praised the film “Animation has the power to educate as well as entertain and engage the viewer, thus attracting a large audience,” says Al Bakri. “The selection of “Saleem” at the prestigious Annecy Film Festival is a remarkable achievement that the Jordanian film industry can be proud of.”
The film tells the touching story of a nine-year-old boy, Saleem, who lost his father and was forced to flee with his mother, brother, and sister from his war-torn city. Saleem's life changes when a mysterious pigeon shows him a map that leads a discovery adventure for a treasure he didn't expect to need.
The film was "a surprise we did not expect," that is how the artistic director of the Annecy International Festival, Marcel Jean, described the film produced by Jordanian director Cynthia Madanat Sharaiha at a press conference held recently to announce the nominated films. "We were captivated by the sensibility and delicacy of the film. I strongly encourage you to explore that work at the festival this year."
Deadline, the specialized global website, described Saleem's candidacy as a "rare participation from the Middle East."
"Digitales" is an emerging Jordanian company producing animation and influential digital content. It has won several international awards for its production of works, such as, "Our Family's Life: Abu Sanad Family." The company is led by a team that specializes in creating content that is family and kids-friendly.
“Front Row Filmed Entertainment” distributes "Saleem" exclusively in Arab countries, while “I Am a Film” is responsible for distributing festivals.