A source said relevant authorities assigned to take this decision include the Ministry of Interior, the Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), the General Commission for Audiovisual Media, and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia).
He said the SCTA and the audiovisual commission have a direct interest in the matter, while the other two are concerned with consultations and coordination.
The first people who introduced cinema to Saudi Arabia were foreigners working in Aramco (now Saudi Aramco), during the 1930s; in the 1990s they became available to Saudis at their sports clubs.
The issue of cinemas in Saudi Arabia resurfaced when a number of media sources published news that allowed the establishment of cinema houses according to Shariah rules, especially after some Saudi producers showed their movies outside Saudi Arabia, and some of them received a number of international awards.
Gulf countries receive large numbers of Saudis during the holiday seasons, achieving huge financial returns, which give private investors clear signs of the feasibility of achieving substantial financial returns. Those opposed to the establishment of cinema in the Kingdom say that Saudi society is a distinguished one, and its values and traditions do not allow such activities.
The film “Wadjda” by Saudi director Haifa Al-Mansour, which is the latest Saudi film, received three international awards during the 69th Venice Film Festival. It became the first Saudi film in the foreign language category to win the award in 2013.
Wadjda, produced by Rotana and Razer films and High Look, was written and directed by Haifa Mansour, which talks about a girl who lives in Riyadh and her journey to own a bicycle.