Rabat – Nearly two years after its release, the first animated movie about iconic Islamic figure Bilal Ibn Rabah, “Bilal: A New Breed of Hero,” will be available in United States theaters on February 2.
The story takes place in Mecca, the city where Islam flourished 1400 years ago. It is based on the true story of Bilal Ibn Rabah, a freed slave of Ethiopian origin, who converted to Islam and became one of the most trusted and loyal companions of the prophet Muhammad.
Chosen by the prophet himself to be the first muezzin — the person who leads the call to prayer — as he was known for his beautiful and far-reaching voice.
The animated movie is the first feature film released by Dubai-based production company Barajoun Entertainment. Barajoun’s founder, Ayman Jamal, also wrote and directed the film. He said he wrote it to inspire a new generation of kids based on real historical heroes from his culture.
“I asked my 5-year-old son what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said Superman. I love Superman, but I wish he’d said something possible, and I wanted to create this. To inspire kids with a real human superhero that they can aspire to,” Jamal said.
“Superman is the reason I did this. I had to save my kid,” Jamal added.
According to Jamal, the project was in development for eight years and required a team of 11 researchers to ensure the film was historically accurate. It also employed about 250 animation professionals — some of whom have previous credits such as Shrek, Life of Pi, Star Wars and The Avengers — who helped bringing the movie to life.
The film, only now set for official distribution in the United States, initially premiered on Dec. 9, 2015 at the 12th Annual International Dubai Film Festival and was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2016 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
“We hope this movie has provided a role model that will transcend time,” Jamal said.
A number of people have taken to Twitter to express their excitement for the much-awaited film.
Today as we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, let us remember that one courageous person can make a difference in this world. He reminds us that our voice makes us powerful and we can make a difference. What do you believe in? #PowerOfOne #BilalMovie in US theaters 2/7 pic.twitter.com/QC9KrPsD7z
— Jacob Latimore (@jacoblatimore) January 15, 2018
Since the classic movie ‘The Message’ I haven’t really seen any feature film try to document any major Islamic Historic events that is noteworthy. This new animated movie about the life of Saydina Bilal RA certainly does look insightful https://t.co/kU9ZE8Oo9m #BilalMovie
— Ali Sheikh (@AliSheikh313) January 12, 2018