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Saudi Arabia concludes participation in Cannes Film Festival as region's new filmmaking hub
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 07 - 2021

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia concluded on Thursday its 9-day participation at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, in the strongest and most prominent representation in its history.
The participation emanated from the generous and unlimited support of the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, for sectors of culture, filmmaking and film production in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.
Saudi Arabia participated in the Cannes Film Festival through an integrated Saudi pavilion, with wide participation from a number of government agencies, the private sector and Saudi companies specialized in the field, including the Film Commission, Ministry of Investment, Royal Commission for Al-Ula, Red Sea International Film Festival, the MBC channel group, Ithraa, NEOM Company, Nebras Films, Cinewaves films, TV 11, and Arabian Pictures Group, in addition to a group of filmmakers and those interested in this field.
The distinguished Saudi presence in the festival reflects the level of qualitative progress witnessed by the film and film production sector in light of the new legislation and specialized commissions that emerged during the past few years.
Today, Saudi Arabia introduces itself as a pioneer ambitiously embarking on filmmaking and film production, having high human, cultural and artistic potential that makes it a new hub and incubator for the film and cinema industry in the region.
Since Cannes Film Festival is the most prominent event on the global cinema calendar, Saudi Arabia sought through its participation to establish its position as a global filmmaking hub with its vast lands, unique filming locations, and enormous production capabilities.
The Saudi pavilion taking part in the festival acted as a platform for open dialogue among Saudi and Arab filmmakers and investors with their international counterparts.
The pavilion featured various seminars and discussion sessions addressing the prospects of the film industry in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, besides its ability to have a global reach. It also hosted the Red Sea International Film Festival's announcement to support Arab films, as well as the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture "Ithra," unveiling the production of new Saudi and Arab films.
The activities and initiatives at the Saudi pavilion reflected the booming growth of the Saudi film sector, in light of the support of HRH Crown Prince and under the umbrella of the Saudi Vision 2030.
These efforts generated interest in the film industry, contributed to activating cinemas in Saudi Arabia, and attracted Arab, regional and international capitals to invest in the sector through film productions in Saudi locations or distributing international films in Saudi cinemas.
The pavilion hosted several seminars organized by the participating Saudi agencies, tackling investment opportunities in the Saudi film industry. The Film Commission held a seminar entitled "Get to know the Saudi film industry," whereas "Film AlUla" organized a session entitled "Get to know the producers."
The Red Sea International Film Festival announced receiving an additional grant of $4 million from the Film Commission to support Arab filmmakers, while "Ithraa" announced the production of its two newest films "Sea of Sands" and "Valley Road" by celebrated Saudi and Arab filmmakers.
The Saudi pavilion succeeded in confirming the position of Saudi Arabia as an incubator for the Arab film industry, and a significant and influential market in the Middle East, where aspirations of investors from around the world meet.
This success was based on Saudi Arabia's high consumption of global film products, a great number of Saudi platforms and institutions supporting Arab production, in addition to the bundle of offers and investment opportunities it extends to international films filmed inside the Kingdom and initiatives to support local, Arab and international productions.

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