Saladin

WE ARE HERE TO CREATE A PROOF-OF-CONCEPT SHORT FILM ON THE MOST ENIGMATIC LEADER DURING THE CRUSADES, AND WE NEED YOUR HELP.

SULTAN SALADIN was a ruler ahead of his time. He astonished his contemporaries by his generosity, military skill and humility during a time of religious fanaticism and hate.

Today, as peace in the Middle East remains elusive, with the rise of brutal terrorist movements and the continued occupation of Palestine, we hope you'll help us highlight a Muslim leader who treated even his enemies with immense respect and compassion. We believe in the power of film to de-radicalize and build tolerance and as you explore this website, we hope you'll discover the power of Saladin's story.

#BeLikeSaladin

For the past few months, we've been tirelessly working on concept art, storyboards and props. Our executing team includes some of Hollywood's best VFX and art talent and we're already working with master blacksmiths who are hand-crafting beautiful armor, swords and other props for us

Massive armies, epic battles, legendary knightly orders like the Templars, titular personalities like King Richard the Lionheart, shadowy assassins and brilliant acts of chivalry - the Medieval period has a proven track-record in the media, from cinema to video games!

We need your backing to create a ‘’proof-of-concept’’ short. The money will allow us to work with a world-class cinematic production company with motion capture and animation facilities.

Once the short is ready, we’ll pitch it to already interested studios, investors and producers to get the full feature film (or mini-series) green-lit.

"He was a great man... Saladin practically invented chivalry."Ridley Scott, discussing Kingdom of Heaven

60
Days Left
$ XXX XXX Collected out of $ 150,000
A teaser of the digital medieval Jerusalem we are working hard to create.

"During the Age of Enlightenment, authors such as Voltaire depicted him as an enlightened sovereign, tolerant and open to all religions. Even today, he is probably the only Muslim ruler in history whom Hollywood studios could imagine casting as a hero."ANNE-MARIE EDDE, author of Saladin's definitive biography

"Saladin became a legend in his own time, venerated by friend and foe alike as a paragon of justice, chivalry, and generosity." HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Need

With the violence in the Middle East and the rise of terrorist movements like Daesh, it's important to highlight an earlier time period when the same region saw extreme bloodshed — and the man who emerged as the most merciful and skilled ruler in the entire saga.

We believe that Saladin's story is an important lesson in compassion and interfaith harmony during a time that terror movements are luring young men and women with warped interpretations of religion that focus on little other than hate and slick propaganda videos.

We hope you'll join us in this journey to highlight a great leader and, in the process, help promote the values of mercy and respect, even among enemies and during times of war.

WHO WAS THIS MAN?

About a 1000 years ago, the Crusades ravaged the Levant. Yet in this time of hate and religious fanaticism, Sultan Saladin was admired by both sides as a fair, just and generous leader.

His court was revolutionary in its informality and inclusion of non-Muslims, most notably Maimonides, the most prominent Medieval Jewish scholar.

When he re-captured Jerusalem for the Muslims, his generosity and mercy towards the defeated Crusaders was in stark contrast to the massacre that occurred when the Crusaders earlier took the city.

He lived frugally despite being the most powerful man in the region. He treated his enemies with respect — once even sending King Richard two of his royal mounts after the King fell of his own steed mid-battle. After capturing King Guy of Jerusalem, he simply released him after a brief captivity, telling him not to worry --- "Kings do not kill Kings." He was constantly moved to tears at the sight of suffering and even criticized by his own biographers for aiding the Crusaders by releasing so many of them after his conquests.

Saladin understood that the real jihad was inward --- that it lay in controlling the ego and in mercy rather than vengeance. This is the message of Islam we want to promote.

"I warn you against shedding blood, indulging in it and making a habit of it, for blood never sleeps."

Saladin

Team

UMAR AGHA

DIRECTOR / CREATOR
Obsessed with Medieval history; studied Film at Columbia University
"Living in Post-9/11 NYC, I couldn't help but be drawn to Saladin's incredible story.
How did he rise above the hate and violence of that time? What would it have been like to be a member of his court? What can we learn from him today?​ ​This is what we'll be exploring."​
& the super-talented
wizards who
are helping making
it happen:

KARL

FX TD
Oblivion, Ender's Game, Tron: Legacy, X-Men: First Class
"Visual effects in this genre give us a great opportunity to not only bring a piece of history to life, but also to take technologies and events at the time that were already fantastical and add a new level of scale and impact to make them truly awe inspiring"

Jack Nesbit

Storyboarding + Concept Art
War for The Planet of the Apes, The BFG, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
"There is so much untapped potential for storytelling during this period in history - I'm thrilled to be on board and can't wait to see where we can take this remarkable story." 

ARNAUD

Character Design + Key Visuals
Guardians of the Galaxy,
Game of Thrones, Maleficent,
Wrath of the Titans,
The Chronicles of Narnia
"...we have built a strong visual language for this. Umar has a unique vision, and he knows exactly how this project should look. As a Concept Artist for the VFX industry, I can say it's really important to have a clear idea of your project..."

TOM

Environment TD
Guardians of the Galaxy, Maleficent, World War Z, Skyfall, Sherlock Holmes, Pirates of the Caribbean
"The project looks truly promising and I look forward to working on Jerusalem once again!" 

TONY

Digital Matte Painting + Concept Art
Batman V Superman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldiers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron
"Umar's passion for what he wants to achieve brought me into this project. It has been a great honor!" 
And many more,
your backing!

Faq

Who was Saladin?

Saladin, known as Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub in Arabic, was the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and the most prominent leader of the Muslim opposition to the European Crusades in the Levant.

What makes him so special?

He is popular in the Muslim world as the liberator of Jerusalem (from Crusader control) and as one of the greatest leaders in Islamic history. In Western sources, he is repeatedly praised for his generosity, compassion and chivalry, even being called a closet Catholic by some. The Jews hailed him as the new Cyrus when he conquered Jerusalem and invited them back to the city (they had earlier been massacred or driven out by the Crusaders).

His royal court was also revolutionary --- including, for example, the great Medieval Jewish intellectual, Maimonides.

Why is this relevant today and why should we fund your project?

Much of the Middle East is still engulfed in the flames violence, with terrorist and sectarian movements like Daesh (the so-called and ill-named "Islamic State") twisting and warping the message of a peaceful religion to serve their political and financial motives. So, we feel it's very important to highlight a great Muslim leader who treated his enemies with respect, mercy and generosity.

As these so-called "Islamic" terrorist groups look to brainwash vulnerable and marginalized youth and at the same time hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise, we want to push back by showing a Muslim ruler who had a Jewish physician, who served as the Sunni Vizier to a Shiite caliph, who allowed Eastern Orthodox Christians to worship in their holy places (a right earlier denied by the Crusaders) and who routinely shocked even his enemies with his compassion. We want to tell them that the real jihad is inward --- just as Saladin rejected excessive materialism, excessive violence and excessive hate, dying a man with next to no material possessions yet the admiration of both the Crusaders and Muslims.

What about the entertainment value?

We feel that the period of the early Crusades (i.e. the first few) is ripe for cinematic treatment, with titular personalities (Kings, Sultans and more), knightly orders like the Templars, massive armies and battles, Assassins lurking in the dark (that's where Assassin's Creed got its inspiration from) and brilliant acts of chivalry and courage.​

What do you need money for?

​Having spent the past year on historical research, story development and concept art, we now need your backing to create a proof-of-concept short film.

The money will allow us to work with a world-class cinematic production company with motion capture and animation facilities.​ ​Once the short is ready, we’ll pitch it to already-interested studios, investors and producers to get the full feature film (or mini-series) green-lit.

Do you have a team?

All good cinema is the result of a massive collaborative effort. While this project was conceived by Umar Agha after he was exposed to Medieval History and Film at Columbia University in New York, its success depends on an amazing team.

The team includes several talented artists with many years of experience in leading VFX studios. They have worked on films like Batman V Superman, Guardians of the Galaxy, World War Z, Skyfall, Oblivion, Maleficent, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, X-Men: First Class, Ender's Game, Tron: Legacy, The Chronicles of Narnia and more (and TV shows including Game of Thrones).

Roughly half of the team consists of artists at the Technical Director level with experience at award-winning studios including MPC, Framestore, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, 343 Industries and CryTek.

The props team is spread across the globe and includes master craftsmen in various disciplines.

What do you have to show so far?

We have beautiful concept art and storyboards that demonstrate our vision for this project. Our Jerusalem Digital Matte Painting was made by the incredible artist who led the effort to recreate a digital Jerusalem for World War Z.

We spent a great amount of time getting the mood and atmosphere right. We also put in a lot of effort in producing our crowd-funding video, which features painstakingly crafted costumes, including custom armor.

​You mentioned a props team --- are you getting customized props made?

Yes, we are! They are going to be hand-crafted and several are going to be one-off pieces custom-made for our production. And they're all going to be available as Kickstarter Rewards to our biggest backers!

​Wasn't there an earlier Saladin project on Kickstarter too?

That project, called "The Salahaddin Project" (do check it out!) was for a mini-series/TV show and approached the subject matter quite differently in terms of tone/mood/treatment.

We feel that the epic scale of the Crusades is best realized on the big screen and we have engaged a team of very talented concept / CG artists / craftsman to realize our vision.

MORE QUESTIONS?

We would love to hear from you!
You can send all queries to SALADINFILM@GMAIL.COM
and a member of our team will get back to you ASAP.