The film industry in Saudi Arabia .. Where to?


Three years ago, specifically in April 2018, the first cinema in the Kingdom was opened in the capital, Riyadh. At that time, cinemas began to be launched in many regions of the Kingdom. Cinemas were opened in Jeddah, Dammam, Tabuk, Hafr Al-Batin, Jubail, Dhahran, Al-Ahsa, and Abha. and bundled.It may seem to some that the Riyadh cinema is the first cinema in the history of the Kingdom, but the references to history know that the cinema has been in the Kingdom since the sixties of the last century. Their own condominiums have their own cinemas.

During the late sixties and early seventies, theaters began to spread among the local population, and galleries available to Saudi citizens were specifically located in local sports clubs, and in some famous courtyards and homes, especially in Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif, Abha, Dammam, and sometimes in some foreign embassies, but it was A random offer that lacks the organization and preparation necessary for viewing, appropriate marketing, and serious selection.

Since then and until cinema stopped, Saudi Arabia has produced many Saudi films with Saudi ideas and cadres, until it was stopped and returned again, three years ago and coinciding with the return, Saudi film festivals began to appear in the Kingdom and support the Saudi film industry, such as the Red Sea International Film Festival, a non-profit festival Launched by the Saudi Ministry of Culture with the aim of supporting the film sector in the Kingdom and enriching the local cinematic content. The Red Sea Films, which is an incubator for film projects, is an active development lab throughout the year; To develop local cinema production in accordance with international cinema standards.

And many other festivals, such as the Saudi Film Festival, the Saudi Film Festival, and the Jeddah Film Festival

In Al-Madina’s search for cinema and its makers, we met the young Saudi director, “Abdulaziz Damanhouri,” who, despite his young age, has great local and international experience. He worked in the United States of America in many short films and advertisements, and came back loaded with these experiences to enrich his generation. art industry.

“Damanhouri” talked to us about cinema and its future in the Kingdom, the existing festivals and what is expected of them, and how the return of cinema will be.

The return of cinema thus means the return of Saudi production and its abundance, and this is not new to Saudi Arabia. The first Saudi movie was in 1950 and bore the title Flies starring Hassan Al-Ghanim, who is considered a Saudi actor, and in the mid-sixties the Saudi TV produced television films, but the real start of production The Saudi Film Festival was in 1966, when he produced the film Remorse of Conscience directed by Saudi director Saad Al-Fraihi and starring Saudi actor Hassan Dardir. [13] In 1975, the Saudi director Abdullah Al-Muhaisin directed a film about (the development of the city of Riyadh) and participated in it in the Documentary Film Festival in Cairo in 1976, before presenting again in 1977 a more important, presence and artistic film, the documentary (The Assassination of a City) A drama about the Lebanese Civil War, and the extent of the damage this war caused to the beautiful city of Beirut, and won the Nefertiti Award for Best Short Film, as the film was shown at the Cairo Film Festival in 1977

The number of Saudi films produced from 1975 to 2012 is (255), most of which are documentaries or short films, with a limited budget and low costs. They were shown only in competitions and festivals, whether local, Arab and international, to compete for various prizes. A few were commercial, with a huge budget, and shown in cinemas. It varied between documentaries, short films and feature films, and in terms of content type, into horror films, action films, comedies, silent films, science fiction films, television films, animated films and YouTube films.


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