Shahid, a video streaming and TV catch-up service in the Middle East and North Africa region, announced it would be launching its second pre-theatrical movie release, Al Hareth, later this month.
Al Hareth will arrive on Shahid’s premium SVOD offering on Thursday, August 13, and stars Egyptian actors Ahmed AlFishawy and Yasmin Raeis. Inspired by true events, the horror-thriller follows a newlywed couple who find themselves faced with a set of paranormal events.
“We are really looking forward to the release of our second cinematic experience with “Al Hareth” as it’s a style of film rarely produced or seen in Arab cinema. It’s clear to see that our viewers want more unique and diverse Arabic-language content and experiences, and we’re here to deliver,” Jakob Mejhede, chief content officer, Shahid said in a statement.
Many people in the Middle East are turning to video-on-demand (VOD) services like Shahid to provide entertainment as their governments have imposed restrictions on movement aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Shahid VIP’s first pre-theatrical release, Saheb El Makam, was released over the Eid Al Adha break. Both MBC and Shahid have experienced an increase in demand for exclusive Arabic-lanauge content throughout the year, a statement from Shahid read.
Commenting on the launch of Al Hareth, Raeis said that the genre was new to her, as she admits that horror films often scare her.
“What attracted me to the role was the fact that it was inspired by true events,” she said, according to the statement.
“When my character, Farida first begins to encounter the strange experiences, no one actually believes her. But the challenge of the role was that while the character felt lonely and extremely isolated, she was also strong and determined to face the situation with courage. So it was a great role to play,” she added.
On the film’s release on Shahid, she added that, “It gives people the chance to enjoy a new movie at home, which is obviously a type of entertainment experience that is becoming more commonplace given the current climate.”
Shahid was launched in 2009 and already provides access to MBC’s network, including nine live HD channels and a catch-up service.
In January, the service announced a partnership with Disney and Fox to provide the region with shows from both companies, including Marvel and Pixar products. The partnerships brought around 3,000 additional hours of entertainment to the streaming platform.