The film tells a story about Bilal, a seven-year-old boy, who dreamed of becoming a great warrior, but is abducted into slavery with his sister and taken to a land far away from his home and thrown into a world where corruption and injustice rule all. Throughout his life he undergoes many hardships, through which he discovers an inner strength he did not realize he possessed. Through these experiences, Bilal comes to realize that if he is brave enough to raise his voice and choose his own path – everything becomes possible. It is through his courage, that he frees himself and ultimately his community; it is through the power of his voice and faith that his lifelong dream of freedom comes true. Bilal grows into a man who will inspire the world.
Directed by Ayman Jamal and Khurram H. Alavi, the $30 million film was produced largely with funding from private equity investors in the Gulf region, as well as support from the Doha Film Institute. It is the most expensive animated feature ever produced in the region; Jamal, who founded the studio that made the film, Barajoun Entertainment, is a former banker turned film producer.
Bilal: A New Breed of Hero stars Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the voice of adult Bilal; Jacob Latimore as the voice of teenage Bilal; China Anne McClain as Bilal’s teenage sister Ghufaira; Cynthia Kaye McWilliams as Bilal’s mother, Hamama; Michael Gross as Okba the cowardly slave trader; and Ian McShane as the voice of Umayya, Bilal’s evil master.