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Future of Saudi cinema … gathering of world-class film directors in Riyadh

Saudi women arrive to watch Saudi short movies during the "Short Film Competition 2" festival on October 20, 2017, at King Fahad Culture Center in Riyadh. (AFP)
RIYADH: The third “1000 Dialogues” conference on the future of film and filmmaking in Saudi Arabia will be held in Riyadh on Sunday, November 12, 2017, titled “Film and Production: From Viewer to Filmmaker.”

The conference comes in light of the new changes taking place in the Kingdom with cinema as an integral part of entertainment.

The meeting will be held at the Apex Convention Center and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, according to Saudi online newspaper Almowaten.

The meeting, which will feature a number of producers, directors, experts and specialists in the film industry from Saudi Arabia and abroad, aims to improve the national film product in the light of successful international and local experiences for both men and women and the great interest the business enjoys by a wide segment of viewers.

The keynote speaker will be Colin Vaines, the British filmmaker and Emmy-winning television producer whose credits include “Gangs of New York” and “The Young Victoria.”

It will host two Saudi successful filmmakers and YouTube directors: Ali Kalthami, a Saudi director, producer, writer and co-founder of TV 11 and C3 films, and Ahd Kamel, a Saudi actress, director and author participated in “Wadjda” film and won the first gold award at the Beirut International Film Festival 2012 for her short film “Al-Gondorji” which was written and directed by her.

The dialogue will also feature Saudi social researcher, artist and star of “Barakah yoqabil Barakah” (Barakah Meets Barakah), Fatima Al-Banawi. The film won the Best Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival 2016.

“Cinema is one of the latest industries in the Kingdom,” explained Abeer Al-Fouti, organizer of the event.

She also said that a number of its fans and employees have achieved tangible successes in recent years, despite the fact that cinemas do not exist in Saudi Arabia.

“In the event of its recovery, the industry will contribute directly to creating jobs and attracting foreign investment to the country’s economy, as well as informing the world about the culture of this country. We have witnessed the rebirth of Saudi cinema with films that participated in local and international film festivals.”

Many citizens have also recorded great successes in the production of small works on YouTube, with more than one million viewers, often from young people.

“We have been keen to invite a selection of people interested in the film industry to attend the meeting with filmmakers and specialists from the Kingdom and abroad to enrich the discussion and to be more useful, to achieve the meeting’s objectives, and determine the best ways to develop this industry in the Kingdom,” she added.

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