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From movie bans to film festivals: Saudi Arabia unfolds the red carpet

Riyadh: Less than four years after the cinema’s ban was lifted, Saudi Arabia will host its first major film festival on Monday.
The cinema was banned for decades until April 2018, but in the next 10 days, actors and directors will step on the red carpet at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah.
The festival begins the day after Jeddah hosts the first F1 Grand Prix. This is another attempt to express Saudi Arabia from a different perspective.
138 feature films and short films from 67 countries will be screened in over 30 languages.
Among them are Jordan’s acclaimed “Alleys” directed by Basel Gandour and non-Arabian films such as Joe Wright’s “Silano” and “’83”. This is the story of the victory at the 1983 Cricket World Cup in India.
The festival is also expected to honor Haifa al-Mansour, the first female Saudi Arabian director to film the 2012 international award-winning “Wajida”.
With the rise of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia in 2017, many reforms have begun.
“The idea of ​​hosting a film festival in Saudi Arabia was unimaginable just five years ago,” said Egyptian art critic Mohammed Abdel Rahman.
The festival also looks at the fast-growing market for filming and consumption in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s annual box office revenue could reach $ 950 million by 2030, according to a report from multinational accounting firm PwC.
The Kingdom’s estimated population of about 40 million is estimated to be able to absorb up to 2,600 movie screens.
Social changes in conservative Gulf countries may lift the ban on female driving and allow mixed-gender concerts and other events, despite continued strict crackdowns on objections. It contains.
“Before the cinema reopened in 2018, the industry worked underground,” said Saudi Arabia’s director Ahmed Al-Mulla, who has been hosting the annual Saudi Film Festival in the eastern city of Dammam since 2008. I am saying.
“I didn’t have the ability to shoot or raise money. It all depended on individual efforts.”
However, industry observers say that Saudi Arabia’s film sector still lacks expertise and investment.
But some big projects are becoming a reality.
MBC Studios, the production division of Saudi Arabia-owned Arab media giant MBC Group, went online in 2018 with a huge budget.
Currently, I am shooting the action movie “Desert Warrior” in the Neom region in the Red Sea.
But it’s not just a big budget, Almura said.
Cinema “needs a high standard of freedom of expression … from featuring women to the freedom to work on a variety of topics,” he said.
“Cinema is a soft power that can pave the way for the success of ongoing social and economic changes (in the kingdom).”
Saudi Arabia has had a strict interpretation of Islam for decades, but despite the promotion of modernization, social restrictions remain.
“Cinema is not just an art, it needs to be transformed into Saudi Arabian culture,” said Almura.



From movie bans to film festivals: Saudi Arabia unfolds the red carpet

Source link From movie bans to film festivals: Saudi Arabia unfolds the red carpet

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