“Khorfakkan” film to mark inauguration of Khorfakkan Amphitheatre

Cinematic treat for history enthusiasts: Khorfakkan tells a less-known tale of the heroic role this coastal town played in the 16th century   

The film highlights the epic resistance put up by Khorfakkan’s inhabitants
during a Portuguese invasion in 1507 AD

  • The film was directed by Ireland’s Maurice Sweeney and UK’s Ben Mole
  • Cast includes Rasheed Assaf, Qais Shaikh Najeeb, Ahmed Al Jasmi, Habib Ghloum
  • Khorfakkan will premiere in UAE cinemas on December 17
  • The epic production took two years to complete   

Sharjah, 12 December 2020

To coincide with the inauguration of the Khorfakkan Amphitheatre, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (SBA) will screen Khorfakkan, an SBA production film based on the historical book, Khorfakkan’s Resistance Against the Portuguese Invasion of September 1507, by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

The two-hour film will be screened for three days from December 15 – 17 at 7.30 pm daily. SBA has announced that free tickets for the screening have run out. However, the film will premiere in cinemas across the UAE on December 17.

The two-year long SBA production highlights the epic resistance put up by Khorfakkan’s inhabitants during a ruthless Portuguese invasion over 500 years ago led by naval commander General Afonso de Albuquerque. The film documents the situation and the local way of life in the city as described in Sheikh Sultan’s book, with the Portuguese invasion of the Arabian Gulf and UAE’s eastern coastline forming the main highlight.

The story continues to 27 years later when, on February 13, 1534, Portuguese commander Don Georges de Castro, launched a failed attack on the city once again as the residents of Khorfakkan successfully resisted his efforts.

A team of more than 300 people, including Arab and Emirati artists and producers have merged their passions together to beautifully depict not just how the local population fought the Portuguese colonisers, but also how they lived in the 1500s. The film’s cast includes Syrian actor Rasheed Assaf, who plays the character of General Afonso de Albuquerque; Emirati actors Ahmed Al Jasmi, Mohammed Al Ameri, and Dr. Habib Ghloum; Syrian Qais Shaikh Najeeb; and other prominent actors.

Directed by Irish Maurice Sweeney and British Ben Mole, the scenes of the film were shot on Khorfakkan’s shores, its farms, mountains, and around the ancient city under the expert supervision of Irish cinematographer and director of photography, Richard Kendrick. The venues were carefully selected to be as close to the actual sites of the 1507 events, as possible.

Commenting on the screening, HE Mohamed Hassan Khalaf, Director General of the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, said: “The film, which highlights the history and historical importance of Khorfakkan, commemorates the celebration of a landmark development project launched in the city under the directives and supervision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.”

He added: “The strategic location of the city – overlooking the Arabian Sea and its integral role as an important maritime route made it a prime target for invasion and occupation. However, those conquests failed due to the resistance put up by its people who fought valiantly to protect the homeland. In producing this film, we wanted to document the bravery and sacrifices endured by the city’s residents in fending off the attacks.”

The inauguration of Khorfakkan Amphitheatre will be marked by a grand celebration and activities. The several ongoing development projects in the city are part of the continuous efforts of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah to endow the city with vital facilities and services that reflect its historical stature and eminent position as a key tourist location in the country and the region.