A magical place

Todd Nims receiving his WEP 2018 participation award from the Enrichment Office team.

​- By Andrea Hulsbosch, KAUST News

Todd Nims' film "Joud" speaks to an international audience, but the Saudi people are his main source of inspiration.

"The desert is a blank canvas that they've been filling with their imagination for millennia. Storytelling is part of their cultural DNA, and that is what makes Saudi Arabia a magical place," Nims said.


Nims was born in Saudi Arabia, where he became an experienced traveler of the Middle East from an early age.

"Being an expat, you tend to become a natural storyteller. You are always trying to share a piece of your life with the people back home," he noted.

The young storyteller is slated to produce a series of cinematic feature films, the first of which is "Joud" (2018). Set in Saudi Arabia, the film journeys deep within the soul of a country often hidden to the outside world.

Nims came to KAUST to premier the film as part of the 2018 Winter Enrichment Program (WEP). He worked for six years as a producer at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, the Kingdom's state-of-the-art cultural center for inspiring creativity and global culture.

"Joud" showcases an unconventional meditation on the cycle of life—but in reverse—from death to birth. Nims and his co-producers provide an immersive cinematic experience that moves the audience to consider life and their place in it. The title "Joud" is an Arabic word meaning "generosity in the face of scarcity" and functions as a storyline in the film, where it is interpreted in the context of everyday life.

"Life itself is always giving, even when it is taking away," explained Nims.

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