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Salma Hayek Brings Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet to Life at the Toronto International Film Festival Saturday

posted on: Sep 3, 2014


Based on Lebanese-American author, artist and poet Kahlil Gibran’s writings, the much-anticipated animated film The Prophet includes eight of the 26 chapters in the original internationally acclaimed book of poetry. Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet’s early stages were written in Arabic before evolving and being published in English in 1923. Though Gibran spent half his life in the United States, he still retained his Lebanese citizenship, and put traditions and principals of his homeland at the foundation of his work. A central story has been created to tie all eight of the short stories together. The main wrap-around story is directed by Roger Allers, who also directed animated successes such as The Lion King.

The feature film world-premiers at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this Saturday, September 6, with additional advanced screenings around the globe, including in Gibran’s homeland of Lebanon, before opening to the public.

The tale is a collection of stories seen through the eyes of a young, mischievous girl, in the form of philosophical and spiritual reflection. A variety of topics are folded into the core framework.

The film has a line up of a well-established cast of voice talents, nine producers and multiple producers who have worked over the course of many years to get this film made and completed as exceptional work.

Arab America spoke with William Nix, one of the executive directors of the film. “Gibran was conveying both the Eastern and Western perspectives, on topics such as religion, and his diverse views are the core essence which have been brought into light as the themes within Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” Nix conveyed.

Nix worked consistently with the Gibran national committee to tell the stories and bring them to the big screen. He worked to ensure the film got financed, produced, developed and enabled many people to become aware of Gibran’s perspective on unity in the world and most of all who he was as an artist.

The film was composed by nine directors, which is both rare and extraordinary, each adding their experience into one of the segments including Salma Hayek-Pinault. Hayek’s involvement was special to her because of her connection to the novel’s author through her Lebanese heritage and that of her memories of her grandfather reading The Prophet to her as a young child in Mexico. Her perspectives were added to the film through her directing. Her strong name and team of fellow accomplished directors have brought attention to the film, in efforts that it will be discovered and loved by many audiences.

The film has already been well received. 30 minutes of the film’s footage were shown at a screening at this year’s Cannes film festival, displaying as still a work in progress. The film also contains a much-acclaimed score.

Nix is additionally working on another Gibran project, hoping to keep his art and memory alive in this new generation, in the form of a biographical film that has been in the works over the past two years. “Bringing people into familiarity with his work and Gibran’s art (is the ultimate goal). He was a multicultural leader through art in his work,” Nix emphasizes.

For more information on the film, visit

Rachel Partain
Arab America