Hollande woos Saudi investors

Updated 05 February 2014

Hollande woos Saudi investors

Saudi Arabia and France have drafted a road map to strengthen political and economic relations, French President Francois Hollande announced on Monday.
The two sides also signed nine cooperation agreements in energy, water, education, transport, urban planning and human resources.
Addressing business leaders at the French-Saudi Business Forum on Monday at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) in Riyadh, Hollande assured Saudi businesses of a welcoming investment environment in France.
Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf and CSC Chairman Abdullah Al-Mobty were also present. A team of four ministers accompanied Hollande, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“I am committed to tax stability and enforcing systematic rules because I know that when you come to us to invest this creates more jobs for us,” Hollande said.
He said that France could provide expertise in various sectors ranging from small to large companies. “As such, we need an open market for the mutual interest of both countries," he said.
Hollande said France’s companies could provide their knowledge, as they do in China, in energy, mega construction projects and the food sector.
He said Saudi Arabia was the only Arab country in the G20 that can shape global economic policy. He said Saudi Arabia, as the world’s largest oil producer, has always maintained fair prices for consumer countries.
According to Al-Mobty, there are 3,000 French expatriates in Saudi Arabia. The trade between the two countries stands at SR44 billion.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and the French Minister of International Commerce Nicole Brick signed the nine cooperation agreements between the governments and private Saudi-French companies.
Two French companies, Areva and ADF, inked cooperation agreements with several Saudi universities. There were also agreements signed between French firms and Saudi companies Zamil Steel, Olayan Descon, Bahra Cables, Riyadh Cables and Pumps Arabia.
“The agreements signed on the sidelines of the visit, confirms the joint will of the two countries to develop their relations in various fields. The Saudi side wishes to encourage Saudi companies to invest in France to promote and create job opportunities for Saudis,” Al-Mobty said.

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.