Curses and demons are typically confined to the realms of fantasy but they have a semi-biographical presence in Toufic Saadeh’s upcoming feature, The Story of Nadia.
Shooting begins this month on the independently funded drama/thriller, which follows Tyler (Dylan Mahoney), a young man who lives a largely uneventful life until a strange reading with a fortune-teller leads him to meet Nadia (Bella Valentini), an attractive young girl who happens to be under the influence of a sinister supernatural being.
The pair embark on a wonderful romance but with Nadia’s curse only worsening, and Tyler being haunted by the same demon, they must decide if love really is worth going head to head with the forces of evil.
The four-week shoot will be based in the Long Jetty on the NSW Central Coast, with Parramatta, Penrith, Waterloo to also be used as locations.
Saadeh penned the script with Sarah Vaughan and is directing alongside Billy EL Kaddour.
He will also produce with Sonia Qutami via his company Rophe Films.
El Kaddour worked on Saadeh’s previous film, The Islander Theory, which is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
The actor and writer told IF the story for his second film was loosely based on a series of events he experienced following a session with a psychic seven years ago.
“I was going through a bad break up and I went and saw a psychic with my now ex because she thought it may help with our problems,” he said.
“The psychic said the break up was going to happen but told me I was being guided by the Archangel Raphael.
“After I had broken up with the girl, I was at the shops one day when I met a girl selling perfume that was wearing a bracelet that had Raphael on it.”
At the time of the meeting, Saadeh was in the midst of making The Islander Theory and considered the girl for the cast, before a string of inexplicable occurrences led him to take another approach.
“As I was getting to know her, she began acting strange and odd things began happening, such as flickering lights when we entered a room,” Saadeh said.
“I knew something wasn’t right and ended up speaking to a friend who said she may be cursed and suggested I take her to a place that specialises in removing them.”
While he finished writing the script three years ago, it wasn’t until last year that Saadeh was able to raise the funds required for production.
He said he would go “all out” to find a distributor once filming was complete, having learnt lessons from the release of The Islander Theory.
“I want to make sure the production is excellent and then I will market it either to festivals or directly to the American film market,” he said.
“After I took The Islander Theory to America, the distributors told me to do a proper film and then come back and see them, which is what this is.”