Tuesday June, 25

Saudi Filmmaker Uses Animation to Deliver Environmental Message to Kids

The Menace from Above, is as described by the Red Sea Film Festival ‘a fun film that highlights an environmental issue that everyone, including children, can do their part to solve’. The short animation film was selected for the New Saudi / New Cinema: Shorts’ section of the third edition of the Red Sea Film Festival (RSIFF). 

Written and directed by animation writer and producer, Mariam Khayat, The Menace from Above, a 6 minute animation is reminiscent of Finding Nemo with a more rudimentary style of animation. Mariam Khayat herself and Majeed Saud embody the dense, underwater voices of the fish. Their film succeeds in embedding crucially relevant planet placement into its essence, raising the prolific issue of human induced plastic pollution in the sea. 

The young protagonist fish, Zahra, appears to be swimming carefree in the Red Sea until she comes across ‘the menace’, a plastic bag, trapping its fellow sea creature, a jellyfish. From then on, Zahra sets out on a breathless mission to save the sea from death by this soulless threat, becoming herself temporarily trapped by it. Zahra’s next task is to warn her fellow marine creatures of the existence of this menace. The short film closes on the plastic bag approaching its next target, an innocent human baby, showing how the environmentally destructive products we create and use can have negative repercussions not only on the natural world but also on our own species. There is solidarity between the human baby and Zahra the fish as she is immediately concerned by the baby being in the line of plastic ambush, thus encouraging the audience to feel the same care and consideration in return for the wildlife currently suffering from plastic pollution.

The film won the Best Animation Film Award at this year’s earlier Saudi Film Festival. 


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A post shared by Mariam Khayat (@markhayat)


The Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF) is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the shores of the Red Sea, this rapidly growing MENA region film festival attracts and nurtures worldwide talent.

Cassie Jo
Cassie Jo
Cassie Jo is an international film journalist specialising in sustainability on screen.

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