Zainab Shaheen prepares for a direct adaptation of the “Mountain Boy” book series

Desert Rose Films CEO Nancy Patton has joined forces with Flying Tiger Entertainment’s Meredith Brett to produce a family-friendly version of Michel Ziolkowski’s “The Boy Who Knew the Mountains” children’s book trilogy, titled “Mountain Boy.”

The project is supported by Fujairah Creative City and the Abu Dhabi Film Commission. Emirati director Zainab Shaheen (“Journey of Hope,” “Dates to Mars”) is set to direct, with Patton co-writing the screenplay, and Miranda Davidson cast as director.

The film will follow the adventures of Sohail, a young boy who lives alone in the mountains of Fujairah due to the local villagers not understanding his differences. The story combines Ziolkowski’s own experiences raising a son on the spectrum, and her memories of life in a small mountain village in the United Arab Emirates. The film aims to celebrate the natural greatness of the UAE, showcasing the landscape, culture and values ​​of the Emirati people, while also dealing with the ripples of climate change.

“I am proud of everything Mountain Boy stands for,” said Patton. “It celebrates neurological diversity, showcasing the stunning landscapes and authentic culture of the UAE. Sohail’s adventures take him across the country and through a series of unique Emirati landscapes, from coal mountains to desert, beaches and trees mangroves in this beautiful and diverse country.”

“It is also not possible to look at the natural world and our relationship to it without confronting the reality of climate change, and this project aims to do so in a way that is accessible and engaging for audiences of all ages,” Brett added.

“Mountain Boy” plans to premiere at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 to be hosted by the United Arab Emirates next year, further highlighting the film’s environmental themes. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2023 and is expected to provide local crews with training for independent production.



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