Finding Ola (‘Al-Bahth Aan Ola’) is a six-episode Netflix-produced series that stars well-known Egyptian-Tunisian actress Hend Sabry, 42, who is also the series’ executive producer.
The series, which was released on 3 February, is cowritten by Maha El-Wazir and Ghada Abdel-Aal and directed by Hadi El-Bagoury.
The series has attracted much interest in Jordan and Morocco, where it has been most watched series on Netflix for several days before dropping to second most watched on the platform since its release, according to Flic Patrol — a platform that provides VOD charts and streaming ratings worldwide.
Flix Patrol also shows that Finding Ola is the third most watched series in Kuwait and Qatar, and fourth in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Finding Ola looks back at the character of Ola 12-years after the events of the popular TV series ‘I Want to Get Married’ (‘Ayza Atgawez’), which was directed by Rami Imam and screened during Ramadan 2010.
In the original 30-episode series, Ola — a twenty-something pharmacist — tries persistently to find a suitable husband, with each of the episodes introducing a a well-known actor as a candidate, becoming an instant television hit.
In Finding Ola, Sabry, now Ola who is pushing 40, is rejoined by Sawsan Badr in the role of Ola’s mother, in addition to Hani Adel as Hisham, Ola’s husband, as well as Nada Mousa, Mahmoud El-Leithy, and Dalia Shawky.
In the new series, Ola’s life is sent on a new trajectory after Hisham suddenly asks for a divorce following 13 years of marriage and two children, Nadia (Asile Mohamed Ramzi) and Salim (pronounced Salim, not Selim as Ola insists) (Omar Sherif).
As Ola embarks on a journey of self-discovery, she tries to find the best in herself, meets new people, reconnects with old friends, dates online and offline, and starts a new career.
The plot captures one of the typical sequences of evolvement of a woman who despite numerous hardships tries to find a new purpose in life.
Ola even calls her newly founded company - which makes natural lotion products - ‘Second Chance’, a direct reference to her character's rebirth.
Finding Ola is dramatically bolstered by guest appearances from prominent actors such as Yousra, Sherine Reda, Khaled El-Nabawy, Bayoumi Fouad, and Fathi Abdel-Wahab.
Similar to I Want to Get Married, Finding Ola breaks the fourth wall, as Ola occasionally addresses the viewers looking directly into the camera, explaining her take on events to the audience following her story.
In addition to opening with an original soundtrack by Khaled El-Kammar, Finding Ola is also enriched with numerous songs by popular young independent musicians from the region, such as the Jordanian Arabic rock band Jadal, Algerian musical group Babylone, Egyptian rock band Massar Egbari, among others.
Sabry - An accomplished artist and more
Sabry, an internationally acclaimed film and TV actor, started her career in 1994 at the age of 14 with a stellar performance in the Tunisian production ‘Silence of the Palaces’ (‘Samt Al-Qosoor’) by director Moufida Tlatli.
Her first appearance in Egyptian cinema, however, was in the 2002 production ‘A Teenager’s Diary’ (‘Muzakirat Murahiqua’), a role that cemented her stardom among Egyptians.
Her later appearances include starring in films such as ‘A Citizen, a Detective, and a Thief’ (‘Mowaten wi Mokhber wi Haramy’) in 2002, ‘Downtown Girls’ (‘Banat West El-Balad’) in 2005, and ‘Ibrahim El-Abyad’ in 2009.
She also starred in ‘The Yacoubian Building’ (‘Oumaret Yacoubian’) in 2006 opposite Egyptian star Adel Imam among an extensive cast of other heavywights.
Her portrayal of an HIV positive woman in the 2011 production ‘Asmaa’ also earned her several awards.
Sabry’s more recent roles include films such as 2016 short film ‘The Parrot’, as well as ‘Life is Beautiful’, ‘The Treasure’, and ‘The Passage’; all of which came out in 2017, followed by ‘Noura’s Dream’ and ‘The Blue Elephant 2’ in 2019.
Additionally, Sabry was part of the jury of numerous film festivals and has received many awards and recognitions.
In 2017, Sabry was awarded the Faten Hamama Excellence Award during the 39th Cairo International Film Festival. In 2019, she received the Starlight Cinema Award of the Venice International Film Festival, becoming the first Arab woman to ever receive this recognition.
Apart from her many achievements in the world of TV and cinema, Sabry is also active in social and humanitarian work.
She has been Good Will Ambassador for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to raise awareness about hunger since 2010.
In 2021, Sabry was awarded France’s Order of Arts and Letters in the grade of Officier (Officer) as a promotion to the Chevalier award she received in 2014.