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Saudi Film Festival highlights socio-cultural issues

Saudi actors pose before the opening ceremony of the fourth Saudi Film Festival held in Dhahran. (AFP)
DHAHRAN: The fourth edition of the Saudi Film Festival in Dhahran is treating audiences to a host of creative films on various socio-cultural issues.
As crowds gather to explore the country’s filmmaking talent, Arab News caught up with Ali Al-Kalthami, the director behind the film “Wasati.”
The movie was screened in Los Angeles in 2016 during the two-day Saudi Film Days event and addresses Saudi culture.
“The movie addresses some of the stereotypes people might have about Saudi Arabia and the people here,” Al-Kalthami told Arab News.
“Wasati” is based on real-life events that happened during the performance of a play in Riyadh 10 years ago. The play was called “Wasati bela Wastiah,” which roughly translates to “A Moderate Without a Middle-Ground,” and during one of its performances, a group of extremists attacked the theater.
That story made headlines and shook Saudi society and now, Al-Kalthami is recounting the events from a different perspective, using dark humor to get the message across to the audience.
When asked if he envisions widespread acceptance of the movie in Saudi Arabia, Al-Kalthami said: “This is an important story for film enthusiasts, for artists and for real people.”
Al-Kalthami is a director, producer, actor and co-founder of entertainment production and distribution companies C3Films and Telfaz11.
The Saudi Film Festival is screening a slew of movies dedicated to discussing pressing issues in the country. On the second day of the event, the following movies were screened at 4 p.m.: “Jaber” (drama, social), “Invasion” (fantasy), “Shells” (stop motion, social), “The Story of the Sword” (fantasy, thriller), “The Right Helmet” (drama, comedy), “Why do people listen to Shailaat?” (creative documentary, musical), “Humanization of the Cities” (documentary) and “Sadaqa Jariah” (drama, comedy).
During the second session, which ran at 6:30 p.m., the following movies were screened: “Tongue” (drama, thriller), “The Music Box Dancer” (psychodrama, social), “Tawq” (psychodrama) and “A matter of trust” (drama).
During the third session, which ran at 8:00 p.m., the screened movies included: “I Can’t Kiss Myself” (mystery, fantasy), “Refuge” (drama, thriller), “The Wedding Dress” (drama), “Zaina’s Cake” (drama, romance).
During the outdoor movies session, which ran at 9:00 p.m., Hungarian film “Sing” and Spanish film “I’ve Just had a Dream” were shown.

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