Saudi to spend $140m on film about expulsion of Persians from Arabia

Saudi to spend $140m on film about expulsion of Persians from Arabia
Saudi Arabia is set to spend US$140 million US dollars on 'Desert Warrior', a film showing the defeat of the Persian Sassanid Empire by Arab tribes at Dhi Qar
2 min read
11 February, 2022
'Desert Warrior' is being filmed in and around the planned city of Neom [Getty]

Saudi Arabia is set to spend 140 million dollars on an epic war film depicting the expulsion of Persians from seventh century Arabia, The Independent Arabia reported on Wednesday.

The film, entitled "Desert Warrior", will tell the story of the Battle of Dhi Qar, a pre-Islamic battle between Arab tribes and the Persian Sassanid Empire in what is today southern Iraq.

The Dhi Qar battle occurred following the death of Nu’man III, the last Lakhmid king of Al-Hirah, an ancient Iraqi city which is now called Kufa.

Filming is currently taking place in the new Saudi city of Neom, which is being built in the northwest of the country. The film's star-studded cast includes Anthony Mackie, Ben Kingsley, Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud, and British-Saudi actress Aiysha Hart.

According to The Independent Arabia, the MBC media group is set to produce the film in cooperation with the international production companies JB Pictures and AGC Studios, and that the project is believed to be one of the largest in terms of production and budget in the Saudi kingdom.

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MBC Studios general manager Zainab Abu Al-Samh said that the film "embodies" MBC Studios’ strategy and orientation towards producing local content that tells the stories of the region, while targeting international viewers, The Independent Arabia reported.

The film has already drawn criticism from social media users who say it could be used to distort history, as the Battle of Dhi Qar took place in present-day Iraq and the involved tribes did not settle in present-day Saudi Arabia.