Netflix’s first original Arabic-language series, Jinn, a contemporary supernatural teenage drama shot in Jordan will debut globally, today, Thursday, June 13, following its launch at an event hosted by Netflix in Amman, Jordan.
The first season will be available to Netflix subscribers in 190 countries. The series has been dubbed in seven languages including Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Hindi, French and English. The cast has dubbed both the Arabic and English versions of the show. The show comes with subtitles in 29 languages.
With a total of five episodes, Jinn spotlights a cast of up-and-coming talent from the region. The series will feature Middle Eastern talent; in the lead role is Salma Malhas (Mira), Hamzeh Okab (Keras), Sultan Alkhail (Yassin), Aysha Shahaltough (Vera), Yaser Al Hadi (Fahed), and Ban Halaweh (Layla).
Executive produced by Elan and Rajeev Dassani (SEAM), this contemporary production comes from on-the-rise Lebanese director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya (Very Big Shot) and Jordanian screenwriter, Bassel Ghandour (Oscar-nominated Theeb), partnering with the twin producers.
Commenting on the expectations for the series, Kelly Luegenbiehl, VP, International Originals at Netflix, said: “When we make a local language series, we want members from that region or from that country to love the show but what’s so exciting for us is to see how these local language series can travel globally. We just saw that recently with the Turkish series Protector which was really well loved in Turkey but then we saw people in Latin America, and Europe, and across the Middle East and Asia loving that show as well – so, that’s really our hope for a show like Jinn. The idea of what Arabic language programming can be can transcend our 190 countries and our 27 different languages.”
Each 30-40-minute episode follows the story of a group of teenagers whose lives are disrupted when a Jinn in the form of a teenage boy appears to them in the ancient city of Petra. Their friendships and young romances are tested when they set out to stop even greater darkness that is threatening to destroy the world.
According to Luegenbiehl, the show promises to strike a chord with audiences across the board. She added: “We really do believe that the authenticity and the specificity of a story is what makes something universal. In the case of this story, it’s a very specific group of kids in a very specific place in Jordan itself and through that specificity we hope that teens and people who love young adults all around the world will respond and find a little bit of that relatability with the struggles of teens in terms of love, relationships and school, and parents. There is something very relatable that it’s not just something for people from Jordan or people from Italy or from Korea – that there are those universal elements that make human connection more possible.”
With other series like AlRawabi School for Girls and Paranormal underway, Netflix plans to continue to invest in stories from the Middle East, Luegenbiehl said.
“I think the history and tradition of storytelling from the Middle East is so strong and so wonderful and just a few of them have been seen globally before. For us, we feel it’s a real opportunity to give filmmakers the opportunity to tell local stories on a global scale in a way that they haven’t before. It’s something we’re really passionate about as a company and something we’re working toward. So, we have those first three but we definitely plan to do more.”