- “While Saudi Arabia is implementing an unprecedented economic transformation plan, 3,000 cinemas are scheduled to open over the next 10 years,” the French version of the Huffington post highlighted the tremendous development of Saudi cinema, “This Comes within a cultural revolution and a real economic and social boom.”
Huffington post published an article by producer Jumana Zahid, in which she said: “With the opening of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the story has become about many of the cinematic works in the festival, yet this sequence should also allow for considering a real revolution in this sector, which is opening cinemas in Saudi Arabia again.”
Zahid also explained that the Saudi step-by-step opening to the cinema and the increasing spread of Saudi art in western film and cultural institutions are a source of pride that highlights the very rich history and heritage of our country, which in turn incites us, as artists, to portray the originality and feelings of Saudi society during a complete boom between tradition and modernity.
“I was very touched by a script called Zero Distance, and I was honored to have produced what became my first feature film encouraged by King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra); the film was produced in Riyadh two years later and premiered in Dammam. Zero is a film by young Saudis, performed in Saudi Arabia and tells a Saudi story… .”
Zahid pointed out that the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, which ended last February, awarded the jury prize for the short film “Dunya’s Day” directed by Ra’ed Al-Samari. This is an outstanding achievement when we know that this is the first time for a Saudi movie and a testimony to the Saudi artists’ talent, which is brilliantly embodied by Mahmoud Al-Sabbagh in his film “Barakah meets Barakah”, and Haifa Al-Mansour, who moved to the Oscars in 2014 with her film Wadjda. With this outstanding vision, Jeddah will host the Red Sea International Film Festival in 2020, which is an initiative launched by Saudi Arabia to support and develop the talents of the Middle East and the Far East.
Zahid stressed that Saudi cinema seeks to highlight a unique artistic model. Realizing that diversifying its economy is one of the pillars of the 2030 Vision Transition Program, Saudi Arabia provides ambitious means and adopts an ambitious and inclusive cultural policy that benefits as many people as possible.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia announced that at least 3,000 movie theaters were opened open by 2030, providing around 20,000 job opportunities, which is of an invaluable interest for the region; where the majority of the population is under the age of 30, and it will also give all the international actors in cinema the ability to benefit from this huge market that opens up to them.
Zahid continued: “It is up to us, the artists to mobilize, through our creativity; to reflect the modernity and the transformation of the country and to show that dreams and imagination can be attained.