Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Saudi Film Festival Sees 143 Production Entrees

Saudi Film Festival Sees 143 Production Entrees

Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 - 12:45
Saudi Film Festival's figures of the year: UAE’s art director Masoud Amralla Al Ali (left), Saudi actor Lutfi Zini (right)
Dammam- Obaid al-Suheimy
Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province Season entertainment activities will include holding the Kingdom’s fifth Saudi Film Festival, set to launch on March 21, and aimed at promoting local productions. Next to its motion picture competition, the festival will offer panel discussions and specialized workshops.

For 2019, some 143 productions and scripts have been accepted into the film festival.

In its fifth edition, the film event is set to honor two Gulf cinematic giants: the late Saudi actor Lutfi Zini and UAE’s Masoud Amralla Al Ali.

The Saudi Film Festival is a non-profit initiative organized and carried out by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, Dammam Branch, in partnership with the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture.

Inspired by the opening of cinema doors in Saudi Arabia, the festival changed its slogan from “the blink of an eye” to “dreams come true”.

Since its first year, the event has been seeking to develop the art of filmmaking by establishing channels of competition between amateurs and professionals working in the field. These channels take the form of several competitions - such as narrative films, documentaries, and scenario competitions - that represent the main body of the festival.

Offering nearly 80 programs, the festival will run for six days, concluding on March 26. It will dedicate a day for every Gulf country to screen its participating films, starting with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. Screenings will be followed by a seminar attended by critics.

Ahmed Al Mulla, director of the festival, said that the event raised the bar for participation this year, allowing only one-third of participants into the competition, but the number of showing programs, seminars and presentations doubled.

Al Mulla revealed that the event will open with a long film entitled "The Zero Distance" by Saudi director Abdul Aziz Al-Shalahi, produced by the King Abdul Aziz International Cultural Center (Ithraa).

A workshop will be dedicated to developing 11 screenplays, readying them up for production.

Editor Picks