EXCLUSIVE: Variance Films has acquired the North American theatrical rights to Shahad Ameen’s debut drama of magical realism Scales. the film, which comes from Image Nation Abu Dhabi will be released theatrically later this year.
Written and directed by Saudi Arabian filmmaker Ameen, the visually enticing Scales is described as a “feminist parable set in a dystopian landscape”. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival’s Critics Week, where it won the Verona Film Club Award. It was also set to screen at this year’s SXSW Film Festival before it was canceled due to the pandemic.
Shot on location in Oman, the story follows a young girl by the name of Hayat. She lives in a poor fishing village which has a dark tradition where every family must give one daughter to the mermaid-like sea creatures who inhabit the waters, to ensure the village can continue their fishing expeditions. When Hayat’s father refuses, she becomes a pariah, considered a curse by the village and urged to sacrifice herself — but Hayat has her owns plans for her destiny.
“I have been overwhelmed with the global response for my film and how well it has been received at numerous festivals,” said Ameen, “My only wish throughout this journey has been for people to continue to see it and that the film continues to open up more conversations about beliefs and gender roles – I’m so pleased that Variance will allow my film to continue its journey throughout North America.”
“Scales is a powerful, visually arresting film that needs to be seen on the big screen, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to make that happen,” said Dylan Marchetti, founder of Variance. “Shahad’s vision pervades every frame of the film, and we’re proud to be able to get behind her debut feature. When theaters reopen, many will flock to the blockbusters, but some of us will want to do what we love best: hit up our favorite arthouse to see something fresh and unexpected. It’s dark times right now, but arthouse theaters will reopen, and we will be there when they do.”
Presented by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Scales is a Film Solutions and The Imaginarium Films production, produced in association with Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji Productions. The film was produced by R. Paul Miller, Stephen Strachan, and Rula Nasser, with executive producers Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji and Majid Al Ansari. The deal was negotiated by Dylan Marchetti for Variance Films and Cinetic Sales Group on behalf of Ben Ross, Chief Content Officer for Image Nation Abu Dhabi. AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of Stuart Ford’s fast-growing independent content studio AGC Studios, handles international rights to the film.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.