It feels like Eid, say Saudi film enthusiasts

Saudis 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)
Updated 13 December 2017
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It feels like Eid, say Saudi film enthusiasts

RIYADH: In a landmark decision, Saudi Arabia on Monday said that cinemas will open in the country for the first time in more than 35 years — and filmmakers in the Kingdom are ecstatic.
Sultan Al-Bazie, director of the Saudi Society for Culture and Arts, told Arab News: “We are returning to what we previously had. As you know, Saudi screened movies in the past, but now we will be better developed and well-organized.
“It will be a great cultural and entertainment experience for the whole family. In the past, we traveled to Dubai and Bahrain to watch movies; now we will have them in Saudi Arabia — Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam.”
Abdullah Qurashi, a Saudi filmmaker and producer, is delighted. “Ever since the news broke, we (Saudi filmmakers, producers, directors, actors) have been going around congratulating each other with ‘mabrouks’ and kisses; it feels like Eid!”
Before, filmmakers in Saudi Arabia faced difficulties and skepticism in financing their films. “Now, there is an actual market... This will have a huge economic impact, and this is so exciting. Now I can confidently approach investors and say, ‘I would like to make a movie,’ and it now sounds like a business pitch and not a hopeful dream.”
Dr. Omar Al-Jaser, a Saudi actor and director, said: “This is wonderful news and coincides with Saudi Vision 2030. I hope that the Ministry of Information and Culture will support both males and females in producing and directing movies financially so that we can be given a chance to produce Saudi films.”

“It’s crucial that Saudi filmmakers take courses abroad to widen their horizons and that they may gain crucial experience. Logistic and financial support from the government is vital in order to develop this field,” he said.
Khaled Yeslam, a Saudi actor, said: “We now have no excuse not to excel in this field. I would like to act in dramatic roles that showcase the struggles of human beings. Globally, all humans struggle and this can break the barrier of stereotyping Saudis… and make people all around the world relate to us. It will bridge gaps.”
The first multiplexes are expected to open in March 2018, and experts predict that by 2030 there will be more than 300 cinemas across the Kingdom.
 


Citizen rewarded after new car turned out to be used

Updated 46 min 30 sec ago
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Citizen rewarded after new car turned out to be used

RIYADH: A citizen from Buraidah has been rewarded by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI) for complaining about a commercial fraud. He exposed an auto agency who sold him a “new car” which turned out to be second-hand with a chequered history.
The MCI granted a reward of SR25,000 to Hamad Faleh Al-Qahtani, who reported the fraud.
He bought a new car from the auto agency and made the full payment, but soon realized he had been given a second-hand car.
Not only was it used but it had also been in a crash and been repaired and repainted, which was contrary to what had been agreed upon and in violation of the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law. The ministry followed up the matter with investigations to find the truth and take legal action.
The matter was referred to the public prosecution and then to the Administrative Court in Buraidah, which issued the final verdict that the agency was guilty of violating the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law.
The agency was fined SR100,000 ($26,687). Article 11 of the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law states that anyone reporting a case of commercial fraud which is found to be true upon investigation shall be granted 25 percent of the value of the fine.
The MCI honors 100 informers by granting them financial rewards and gifts on World Consumer Rights Day, which is observed on March 15 every year to foster global awareness about consumer rights and needs. The day was inspired by US president John F. Kennedy, the first world leader to formally address the issue of consumer rights.
The consumer movement first marked that date in 1983 and uses it every year to mobilize action on important issues.
The MCI has urged consumers to report commercial frauds through the Consumer Call Center (1900), through the application of a commercial violation report and through the ministry’s website.