Afnan Bawyan

Script supervisor based in Jeddah.

"Crews were able to experience a free space with different traditions and cultural backgrounds."

How did you get into script supervising in Saudi?

I started in 2016 as a local content writer for a children’s animation show. I then moved to script supervision for some local productions. I was always passionate about writing and curious to discover different sides of it. When I was offered an opportunity to learn about script supervising and started working as one it quickly became a passion of mine.

Describe your job?

My job mostly focuses on the continuity of the filming including wardrobe, props, set dressing, hair, makeup and the actions of the actors during a scene.

What productions have you worked on?

I have worked with local and international crews on various projects. I started working on short films produced through Ithra*.

I then moved to long-form Saudi films such as Distance Zero and Last Visit, also produced through Ithra. I’ve worked on many local independent productions such as; Almalahi written and directed by Wael Abumansou and 40 Years And A Night produced by The Red Sea International Film Festival. The last movie I worked on was an international feature film Champions directed by Manuel Calvo.

*Ithra is the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dahran. It is a center pioneering innovation, culture, and knowledge founded by Saudi Aramco. [move to end of answer]

WHERE HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING PLACE YOU’VE FILMED IN SAUDI?

Filming in Jazan in the southwest. It has the most beautiful landscape ever, from green mountains inland to wonderful beaches and a shoreline on the Red Sea. We filmed in a small village, Ahad Al Masarihah, and the locals were very welcoming and supportive. We shot a wedding sequence and the locals helped us design the flowers and hair accessories for our extras. The relationship between villagers and the crew was outstanding. I was able to explore the deep culture of my country in a way that I never experienced before.

What’s your experience of working with international crews?

I worked on the film Champions where the crew were mostly Spanish. I think they had a preconception of a lack of professionalism in Saudi and were pleasantly surprised by what the local crew could do. Also they were surprised by the different culture they found in the office especially amongst the women. They were able to experience a free space with different traditions and cultural backgrounds. Some of the Saudi women were completely covered while others were uncovered. The crew welcomed the differences and similarities and enjoyed working in harmony.

What are the main challenges the industry faces in Saudi Arabia?

You will find hard-working and talented crew in Saudi but we need to co-ordinate and unite as a film industry. We have beautiful hidden gems of talent in Saudi who aren’t connected.

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