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Whispers: An Eight-Episode Saudi Series to Be Released on Netflix

Whispers: An Eight-Episode Saudi Series to Be Released on Netflix

Thursday, 4 June, 2020 - 12:30

Hana Abdullah Al-Omair graduated with a master’s degree in translation from Heriot-Watt University in 1996, but her passion for cinema drove her to work as a director and submit her first script to the Saudi Film Festival in 2008, winning the Silver Palm Tree Award. Her second movie, Far From Words, was screened in many festivals, the most prominent of which was the 2009 Gulf Film Festival.

Later on, Omairi directed her first movie, Complaint, which received the Golden Palm Award at the 2015 Saudi Film Festival.

Not one to dwell on her success, Omairi began working on her next project, No Filter, a sitcom that aired on Saudi television through Ramadan last year, shortly afterwards. Her newest and biggest project, the eight-episode series Whispers, was recently acquired by Netflix and will be made available to its 138 million subscribers around the world.

Omairi tells Asharq Al-Awsat that offering viewers a new take on storytelling is the main concept behind the new series. Whispers tells its story from the divergent perspectives of the series’ characters and that each of these perspectives allows the audience to view the events in a different light. She emphasizes the rarity of this approach, which focuses on psychological dimensions, especially in Saudi TV, which has always put social events at the center; the characters’ different perspectives portray the events ambiguously, compelling audiences find answers to mysteries that are gradually uncovered with every episode.

She goes on to say, “writing the series was the hardest part, as navigating through the particular convictions, depth and desires of each character is required. The major challenge was directing; the series took nearly a year to complete. We have been working on the series, which aired during the crisis (coronavirus) but was not related to it, since the beginning of 2019. Having a Saudi crew was special, but it is usually the work that determines the artists needed, and we preferred the series to run for eight episodes.”

Omairi also pointed out that global platforms like Netflix make it possible for the series to reach a very wide audience. This is what distinguishes good television with all of today’s technology and that the most important thing is for works to express their idea in the best way possible, in addition to having an enthusiastic crew that understands the idea”. This, she adds, “was very helpful because the actors were excited about the series and engaged in debates about its details and characters”.


Netflix announced that Whispers, the first Saudi drama released as part of its Gulf-produced content, will be available starting Thursday, June 11.

Roula Hassan wrote the script of the series, which features many Saudi actors, including Mohamed Ali, Abdul Mohsen Alnimer, Shaimaa Al Fadl, Mysoon Alruwaily, Elham Ali, Leila Arabi, Ali Al-Sharif, Osama Al-Qass, Nada Tawhid, and Norah Alanbar.

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