release date September 15 2021
MAD Solutions acquires rights for Arab world
British production company Caspian Films and Corniche Media today announce a partnership on My Driver & I, the debut feature from writer/director Ahd Kamel. Ahd's short film La Sainteté (Sanctity) was the first Saudi film to be in Berlinale. The film was in Berlinale Shorts competition 2013.

MAD Solutions has acquired full sales and distribution rights for the film in the Arab world.

The film, written by director Ahd Kamel, is set in 80s and 90s Jeddah and centers on the unlikely friendship between a privileged Saudi girl and her Sudanese driver whose shared love of such things as pop music and ice cream helps them forge an unlikely friendship across the divide of culture, generation and gender.

My Driver & I follows Salma, a young privileged and rebellious Saudi girl born to a strict grief-stricken mother and a loving but absent workaholic father; and Gamar, a young Sudanese man who has left his family and moved to Jeddah to earn a living as Salma's driver. Through her teenage years, Salma comes to realise that Gamar isn't just her driver - in many ways he is her best friend. This is a story about independence and finding family in the most unusual places. Gamar drives Salma in a car, but ultimately enables her to take the wheel of her own life's journey.

Ahd Kamel, writer and director, comments: "This is a personal story inspired by my own driver in Saudi Arabia where I grew up. It aims to open a window on a certain strand of late twentieth century Saudi society, looking deep into the core of a privileged household where servants come to be part of the family, and watching as a girl’s universal journey through adolescence comes into contact with the reality of societal expectations."

The film is produced by Thembisa Cochrane and Georgie Paget for Caspian Films in partnership with Corniche Media.

Hani Farsi, CEO of Corniche Media, comments: "For the last fifteen years it has been a dream of mine to make a film in my hometown of Jeddah. Finding the right story and filmmaker has taken time, but I’m so glad to have finally found both in Ahd and My Driver & I. I’m honoured to be working with such a hugely talented woman director from my part of the world, and I can’t wait for audiences to experience her deeply personal yet universal Saudi coming-of-age tale."
Thembisa Cochrane and Georgie Paget, producers at Caspian Films, add: "We have loved developing this project with Ahd and always felt it would be very important to have the right partners in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. We could not think of better people to work with than Corniche and Mad Solutions, and we are very excited to be shooting the film next year."

Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab, co-founders of MAD Solutions, comment: "We believed in Ahd as a unique filmmaker since we watched and worked on her short film Sanctity. My Driver & I has a passionate soul and a fresh eye on Saudi society. We are happy to join forces with Caspian Films to make this project in 2022. Working with Ahd Kamel is a continuity of an ongoing search of high-quality projects from Saudi Arabia's growing cinema market."