Variance Films is proud to present SCALES, the spellbinding debut feature by Saudi Arabian writer/director Shahad Ameen. The film’s premiere took place at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival’s Critics’ Week, where it won the Verona Film Club Award, before touring notable festivals around the world, including London, Carthage, Cairo, Singapore and at SXSW 2020.
Ameen’s debut is a welcome addition to Saudi cinema’s ongoing, female-led cinematic renaissance. The visually arresting film was selected as Saudi Arabia’s Official Oscar® entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2021 Academy Awards, marking Saudi Arabia’s fourth ever submission in the history of the Oscars®. SCALES will open in theaters on July 9th at IFC Center in New York and Laemmle’s Royal in Los Angeles with rollout to follow.
SCALES is a visually stunning feminist parable set in a dystopian landscape. It follows the story of a strong-willed young girl, Hayat, whose poor fishing village is governed by a dark tradition: 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, the girl becomes a pariah, considered a curse by the village and urged to sacrifice herself – but Hayat has her own ideas about her destiny.
Written & Directed By
OFFICIAL SELECTION – BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM – 2021 ACADEMY AWARDS – SAUDI ARABIA
*WINNER, VERONA FILM CLUB AWARD – VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019*
*WINNER, BEST FILM – SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019*
*WINNER, BRONZE TANIT AWARD – CARTHAGE FILM FESTIVAL 2019*
*OFFICIAL SELECTION – BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2019*
*OFFICIAL SELECTION – NEW WAVE FILM FESTIVAL 2019*
*OFFICIAL SELECTION – CAIRO FILM FESTIVAL 2019*
*OFFICIAL SELECTION – SXSW FILM FESTIVAL 2020*