MBC Studios, the high-end production arm of Saudi media and entertainment giant MBC Group, has announced shooting is underway on the fantasy-adventure Rise Of The Witches, its biggest show to date featuring a local cast and crew.
The production is currently filming on the site of Neom, the burgeoning smart city in the northeast of the country. The site, which is at the heart of the Saudi strategy to become a major film and TV production hub, previously hosted the big-budget Desert Warrior.
MBC Studios said Neom was supporting the production and had constructed three purpose-built sets for the production, which also has the biggest special effects budget for a Saudi production to date.
The series is based on the best-selling Saudi mythology books by Osamah Almuslim. Set in ancient Arabia, it tells the story of an epic war between two rival witch covens.
Growing up in a world dominated by male magicians who want to prevent women from having any access to magical powers, both witches secretly learn the arts and go on to form their own groups in order to protect themselves and gain power.
The production features a predominantly Saudi cast, led by Ida AlKusay and Sumaya Rida as the two lead witches.
Declan O’Dwyer and Craig Pickles direct, with production led by Dominic Barlow, and MBC GROUP’s Zeinab Abu Alsamh as Executive Producer. MBC Studios has brought in emerging local talent to work on the series as part of its strategy to build local film and TV development and production capacity
“Rise of the Witches is a true homegrown production, and features recognisable and new faces, with talent both in front of and behind the cameras coming from our very own MBC Academy and MBC Talent hubs,” said Abu Alsamh.
The ten-part series is a Shahid Original for MBC Group’s pan-Arab streaming platform Shahid and will debut there later this year.