‘Salim”: The film that addresses children’s mental health for the first time.

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Hadeel Al-bess. Amman Net.

For the first time in the history of Jordanian cinema, the film ‘Salim’ reviews the sensitive topic of children’s mental health. This is after a period of 5 years of diligent efforts and the continuous work of the production team, presenting the audience with a long piece of work, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, depicting the psychology aspect of children’s lives.

The film, which is being shown in many cinemas in the kingdom, tells a touching story of a nine-year-old child called ‘Salim’, who loses his father, and is forced to escape with his mother, brother, and sister, from their city, which is torn by war.

And in time Salim faces exciting challenges and adventures that attract young children, thanks to movements and voices, music, and a world of imagination.

‘Salim’ was produced by production company ‘Digitales,’ created by Jordanian director Cynthia Madanat Sharaiha and Jordanian executive producer Shadi Sharaiha. The film’s production took more than a hundred Jordanian men and women from Jordan and other countries.

In statements from the director, Cynthia emphasises how the film carries a story of “hope, healing and resilience for all children that have suffered loss or unfortunate experiences as a result of wars and disasters, especially for refugees, pointing to the tragic conditions to which the children of Gaza are exposed to today.”

The director worked on the inclusion of narrative stories with positive education implications in a two-dimensional style within the contexts of the film to deliver guidance messages to children in a positive way.


The film reflects the reality of our society.

Majid Matalqa, assistant director, artistic director, and one of the scriptwriting team, pointed out the film’s production lasted for 5 years, which was due to the team going through a number of stages of producing the film, given the focus on children’s mental health in the context of animation, where it is required to produce two-dimensional and three-dimensional images.

The film stands out as an Arabic story reflecting the reality of our society and our culture, especially with the portrayal of the difficulties faced by many of those forced to leave their country and seek refuge in Jordan. The film mixes children’s mental health issues together with entertainment, presenting Salim’s story as an adventure full of excitement, according to Matalqa.

Statistics show that there are 3.8 million children under the age of 18 in Jordan, which is more than 40% of the population. Among these nearly 30% of these are non-Jordanians, including many refugees from neighbouring countries, according to UNICEF estimates.

Through animation, Maltaqa explains, the film transports children to an imaginary world, and helps them overcome difficulties and enhances hope after wars, and the work addresses the effects of post-traumatic stress, noting that there was co-operation with a team of psychiatrists to ensure this idea was conveyed to the audience through the film.

Moreover, the story aims to raise awareness more generally, with it highlighting societal issues around the challenges faced by refugee children, which is done in an entertaining way, with a combination of entertainment and awareness, according to Maltaqa.


The character of ‘Salim’

After he was chosen to play the character of Salim in the film, Osama Al-Harhashi shared his experience and challenges in taking on the role, which was a huge challenge for him, especially with his young age and limited experience in the field of acting.

Al-Harhashi explained that it was his continuous co-operation with the production team, multiple meetings, and his in-depth study of the scripts before recording, in addition to training for partaking in various scenes from the film, that helped him overcome the challenges.

When Al-Harhashi was faced with complex texts, he would analyse them and explain investigate the complexities of them, which contributed to the deepening and effective influencing of the character of Salim on the audience, he said.

The film was exhibited at the Annecy International Film Festival, which one of the largest animation festivals in the world, held in Annecy, France. It was also shown recently at the Red Sea International Film Festival in its third session in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia.


“Our Family Life”

Among the works that were also created by Shadi Sharaiha and Cynthia Madanat Sharaiha, ‘Our Family Life,’ which was shown on Roya Channel as part of a comedy hour during Ramadan in 2020, is a social and family program that deals with relations within the family and society.

‘Our Family Life’ is a unique experience. A means of entertainment and education at the same time, with the goal to develop the family and family life through a YouTube channel that presented by “The Abu Sanad Family’ and the Our Family Life website, which is also concerned with matters of family and education, where the team shares their experiences, successes, failures and challenges as parents to help and encourage you to be the best parent for your children.

‘Our Family Life’ was launched by ‘Stories for Design and Digital content’ by Digitales Media, an animation and digital content company that aims to create unique, creative, and valuable content in the Arabic language. The content is translated into English, and sometimes there are videos translated into Turkish and Korean.

Translated by Connor Myers

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