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More Made-in-Saudi films around the corner
By Fouzia Khan
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 08 - 01 - 2009

THE Saudi Ministry of culture and Information is planning to take a group of around 170 Saudi officials, artists, actors and culture enthusiasts to Yemen, as part of a move to promote cultural exchange in the region.
“We are going to be in Yemen on a 7-day tour with the Saudi Ministry of Art and Culture to put up a show of Saudi cultural films, theater art and entertainment in Yemen,” said Mamdouh Salim, director of Rotana film productions. “Following the successful screening of the film “Manahi” within the Kingdom, we are planning to start shooting for three new Saudi movies very soon under the banner of Rotana Studio. We have obtained permission for the ventures from the Saudi government,” he said.
In July 2006, the privately financed Jeddah Visual Festival was held at the consulate's premises in front of a specially invited audience, and Jeddah organizers held a sophomore edition last year. On 22 May 2008, the first five-day film fest were organized by the government- sponsored Dammam Literary Club along with the Saudi Society of Art and Culture in the eastern city.
54 films were featured from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, 34 of which were competing for the prize.
Rawad Media is the first company in Saudi Arabia to establish movies in the Kingdom in 2008, and has organized film festivals in the Kingdom and participated in International film festivals from Saudi Arabia.
According to one of the reports published by the company, 58 Saudi films have been produced till 2008, with one being a long play titled “Sabah Al Lail” (Day and Night), while the others were 42 short films, 6 documentaries and 8 animation movies.
Saudi movies have participated in almost 17 International film festivals in different Arab countries, along with the first Asian film festival in Jeddah. The Saudi film which has won the most awards in international competitions as ‘Best Short Movie' was “Leftover Food” produced by Musa Al-Sinyan.
At the Gulf Film Festival, a short film by Bader Al-Hamood “White White” won the first prize at the student level. A film by Jassim Aqil from Saudi Arabia won the Best Film award and the film “Adventure of the City” also won the award for ‘Best Editing' by Mohammed Hilal at the Emirates Film Festival.
The third film festival held in Saudi Arabia as part of the summer festivals between July 22 and 25 last year, was also organized by Rawad Media.
44 films from Saudi Arabia entered the fray, but only 38 had been chosen to take part in the competition. There were 8 awards for different categories as best director, best editor, best actor, short films, documentary, feature film, photography and screenplay. 70 films were screened at the festival, which included 40 feature films, 12 documentaries, and 15 cartoon films.
A 6-day film festival featuring Saudi films was organized at the King Abdul Aziz Cultural Center Babarq Al-Ragama on Oct. 5 2008 in Jeddah, as part of the last summer film festival. On the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, Rawad Media and Kawthar Foundation and Production teamed up for a public screening at the King Abdul Aziz Cultural Center in Abraq Al-Raghama. Nearly 25,000 viewers also watched the comedy film “Manahi” in Jeddah andTaif for 10 days.
Mamdouh Salim, director of Rawad Media and Production says, “I have taken up the task of projecting Saudi culture, heritage and Saudi artists and showing it worldwide through films. I thank the Saudi Government and the Ministry of Culture and Information for their full support in all these ventures.

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