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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia filmmakers participate in Malmö Arab Film Festival 2022 with 16 films and hope to present a positive image of the development of the Kingdom’s film industry.

The event, which started on Wednesday and runs until May 9 in the Swedish city, has chosen Saudi Arabia as its guest of honor. Therefore, Saudi films will be the subject of special screenings, and seminars will be organized to highlight the development of Saudi cinema.

Saudi filmmakers will present feature films in the competition, in addition to other formats.

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The Saudi films participating in 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 category; and a film by Nour Al-Amir and Fatima Al-Hazmi in the “Arabian Nights” category.

The festival features five Saudi feature films: “Forty Years and One Night” by Mohammed Al-Halil, “The Drum of Punishment” 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, and seven short films:” Umm Al-Saaf and Al-Lif “by Hala Al-Haid (an American-Saudi co-production),” Hawas “by Khaled Zeidan, “Zawal” by Mujtaba Saeed (a Saudi production, with a 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 part of 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 Film Commission.

He added that international film festivals represent a space to showcase Saudi talent and attract global talent in film production, especially following the remarkable change in the industrial environment in the Kingdom thanks to a systemic government that supports and stimulates the industry.

Al-Eyaf said that significant private-sector partnerships and the great geographical diversity of the Kingdom have also enabled this transformation.

Mansour Al-Badran, director of “Shams 89”, said: “I am very pleased with the participation of this film in the festival. I think the national achievement achieved with this film deserves to be seen and praised, locally and internationally. “

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He told Arab News that the Saudi Film Commission has made great efforts to allow domestic talent to participate in the Malmö event, and expressed confidence that the commission’s support will continue in other international forums to celebrate Saudi cinematic creativity.

The Saudi presence at the Malmö Festival is “excellent,” Mr Al-Badran said, adding that the choice of films eligible to participate was “objectively decided.” »

He added: “I think Saudi cinema is on the rise and the Saudi films participating in the current festival are good proof of that … I think we are on the right track.”

The guest of honor’s agenda includes a symposium to introduce the Saudi Film Commission and its initiatives, as well as the intensive Talents Bridge training program. The event ends with a Saudi Artistic Night, where a Saudi music orchestra performs.

The Malmö event is the largest Arab film festival in Europe. Since its establishment in 2011, it has aroused increasing interest due to its location in Sweden. Malmö is home to a great diversity of cultures, and the festival aims to build a bridge between people based on film as a universal visual language.

Cinemas in Saudi Arabia have grown significantly over the past four years, with ticket sales of over 30.8 million tickets, the Saudi Press Agency recently reported.

Since its launch in April 2018, the Saudi Film Commission has licensed 56 cinemas covering 518 screens in 20 cities, where 1,144 films have been shown, including 22 Saudi films. The number of ticket sales reached 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, create a favorable environment for the diversification of economic income streams, and create thousands of jobs for young Saudis.

The use of media as a strategic tributary to the national economy is also in line with Vision 2030, the SPA said.

“This reinforces the growth achieved in four years and proves that the cinema sector is an attractive element for local and international investors in the light of the initiatives and projects offered by the Commission, which enables recipients to easily engage in media activities of all kinds, “she adds.

This text is the translation of an article published on Arabnews.com

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