Saudi director Aymen Khoja is unveiling his upcoming US-set, soccer-themed work Shoot at the inaugural edition of the Arab Cinema Lab at DIFF.
The privately-financed production is Saudi Arabia’s fourth-ever feature-length film.
Egyptian actor El-Masry, best known internationally for his roles in Rosewater and The Night Manager, stars as a young Saudi expat in Los Angeles with dreams of pursuing a soccer career in the city against the wishes of his traditional father.
Other cast members include Patrick Fabian, Ayman Samman and US soccer star Bryan Jordan.
Mecca-born Khoja, who studied at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, wrote, produced and directed the film under the auspices of his Santa Monica and Jeddah-based Khoja Bros label.
He created the company earlier this year alongside producer and writer Allison Winter and creative producer Muhammed Alawi.
“Our vision is to make films that marry both cultures together – Arab and American culture,” said Khoja.
“It came to me while watching films as part of my studies. I’d watch Chinese-American films, Italian-American films, like The Godfather, and Latin American-American films, but never see Arab-American films so I decided to come up with this.”
Khoja is now developing a second film marrying both cultures, a thriller about the kidnapping of a young Saudi studying in the US by a ruthless gangster.
“We’re still developing it with the hope of shooting it next summer,” said Khoja.