RIYADH: Saudi filmmakers are taking part in the Malmo Arab Film Festival 2022 through 16 films, hoping to present a positive image of the development of the Kingdom’s film industry.
The event, which kicked off on Wednesday and runs until May 9 in the Swedish city, has invited Saudi Arabia as guest of honor. As a result, Saudi films will receive special screenings and seminars will be held to showcase the development of Saudi cinema.
Saudi filmmakers will present feature films in competition, in addition to screenings of other formats.
The Saudi films entering the competition are “Junnah” by directors Maan Abdul Rahman and Yasser Abdul Rahman in the feature film competition category; “Phone Kharban” by directors Raghad Al-Barqi, “Diyar Hisma” by Fahd Fayez, “a” by directors Noura Al-Mawlid, Ragheed Al-Nahdi and Ruba Khafaji in the short film competition category; and a film by Nour Al-Amir and Fatima Al-Hazmi in the “One Thousand and One Nights” category.
The festival will screen five Saudi feature films: “Forty Years and One Nights” by Mohammed Al-Halil, “The Drum of Retribution” by Abdulaziz Al-Shalahi, “The Journey” by Kibon Shizuno (a Saudi-Japanese co-production), “Shams Almaarif” by Faris Quds, “The 10th Way” by Omar Naim, as well as seven short films: “Umm Al-Saaf and Al-Lif” by Hala Al-Haid (a Saudi-American co-production), “Hawas” by Khaled Zeidan, “Zawal” by Mujtaba Saeed (Saudi production, with Franco-German contribution), “Saaf” by Wijdan Al-Marzouq, “Shams 89” by Mansour Al-Badran, “The Little Bird” by Khaled Fahd and ” Noor Shams” by Fayza Amba.
Participation in the festival is in line with the Saudi film industry’s plan to promote itself on global platforms and build partnerships that strengthen the sector, said Abdullah Al-Eyaf, CEO of the Saudi Film Commission.
He added that international film festivals represent a space to showcase Saudi talent and attract global film talent, especially after the remarkable change in the industrial environment in the Kingdom thanks to a government system that supports and stimulates the industry.
Al-Eyaf said significant private sector partnerships and the Kingdom’s great geographic diversity have also enabled the transformation.
Mansour Al-Badran, director of “Shams 89”, said: “I am very happy with the film’s participation in the festival. I think the national achievement that has been achieved in the film deserves to be watched and celebrated, locally and internationally.
He told Arab News that the Saudi Film Commission has made great efforts to allow domestic talent to participate in the Malmö event, expressing his confidence that the commission’s support will continue in other international forums to celebrate. Saudi cinematographic creativity.
The Saudi presence at the Malmö Film Festival was “honourable”, said Al-Badran, adding that the selection of films qualified to participate had been “objectively decided”.
He said, “I think Saudi cinema is booming, and the Saudi films taking part in the current festival are a good proof of that…I think we’re on the right track.”
The guest of honor program includes a symposium to introduce the Saudi Film Commission and its initiatives, and to present the Talents Bridge intensive training program. The event will end with a Saudi arts evening, during which a Saudi musical orchestra will perform.
The Malmö event is the largest Arab film festival in Europe. Since its inception in 2011, it has attracted increasing public interest due to its location in Sweden. Malmö is home to a wide range of cultures and the festival aims to build bridges between peoples based on cinema as a universal visual language.
Cinemas in Saudi Arabia have made great achievements over the past four years, with box office sales exceeding 30.8 million tickets, the Saudi Press Agency recently reported.
Since its launch in April 2018, the Saudi Film Commission has licensed 56 cinemas with 518 screens in 20 cities, in which 1,144 films have been screened, including 22 Saudi films. The number of tickets sold amounted to 30,860,956 for films in 22 languages from 38 countries.
The film sector also employs 4,439 young Saudi men and women as part of efforts to increase the size of the media market, provide an enabling environment for the diversification of economic sources of income and create thousands of jobs for Saudi youth.
The use of media as a strategic tributary of the national economy is also in line with Vision 2030, the SPA said.
“This demonstrates growth achieved in four years, indicating that the cinema sector is an attractive element for local and international investors, in light of the initiatives and projects proposed by the commission which allow beneficiaries to easily engage in media activities of all kinds,” he added.