The Young Black Stallion is a 2003 Disney made-for-IMAX film that debuted in select IMAX theaters in the United States on December 25, 2003. It was directed by Simon Wincer. Noted for its beautiful scenery and wide-angle shots, the 45-minute movie was filmed in various settings in Africa. The movie stars Biana Tamimi as Neera, a young girl who befriends a young black stallion, and Patrick Elyas as Aden, although his voice was mapped-over by Eric Grucza, who, for his performance was nominated in 2004 for the Young Artist Award for Best Performance for a Voice-Over Role. It is the only film in The Black Stallion trilogy to be made by Disney.
The film is based on the 1989 novel of the same name. It is Disney’s first production made specifically for IMAX theaters, and a prequel to the 1979 film, The Black Stallion. The original film won an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing and received nominations for Film Editing and Supporting Actor Mickey Rooney, but it doesn’t appear Disney has such lofty expectations for The Young Black Stallion. According to reports, the film was originally scheduled for release in fall 2002, then was postponed until September 2003, and then was shelved yet again.
The film follows the adventures of Shetan, a young black Arabian colt. After a band of robbers separates a young Arabian girl named Neera from her father, she finds herself alone in the desert. Before too long, a mysterious black colt comes to her rescue. The two quickly form a special bond, and the horse returns Neera to her grandfather. Once Neera is back home, the stallion disappears.
Neera greets her grandfather Ben Ishak and her cousin Aden eagerly, but is disappointed and upset when she find out that her grandfather's horse breeding days are over. Ben Ishak informs Neera that because of the shootings in the desert, his fields are ruined, and he can no longer afford to keep any of his horses. He kept an old plow-horse, Abha, and set his most precious mare Jinah free. We find out later that Jinah was Shetan's mother.
A year passes, but the black stallion does not return. Neera’s grandfather tells her that the horse was probably nothing more than a product of her imagination. But Neera knows better. She thinks the stallion is the lost horse of the desert, a legend born of the sands and sired by the night sky. Then, one night, the colt appears again. In an attempt to help her grandfather start a breeding farm again, Neera joins a grueling cross-country race against the finest horses of Arabia for a purse of the most exceptional Arabian mares. Shetan, the black stallion, is trained, and Neera rides him in the competition to restore her grandfather's money and respect. In the end, Neera wins, and Shetan is reunited with his mother.
- Richard Romanus as Ben Ishak
- Biana Tamim as Neera
- Patrick Elias as Aden
- Gérard Rudolf as Rhamon
- Ali Al Ameri as Mansoor
- Andries Rossouw as Kadir