How Saudi filmmakers reacted to the news

Updated 12 December 2017
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How Saudi filmmakers reacted to the news

JEDDAH: For the second time in one year, Saudi Arabia surprised its people on Dec. 11 by announcing the reopening of movie theaters in the Kingdom.
A hashtag went viral on Twitter and social media that created a big fuss immediately after the announcement between opponents and supporters of the decision. Here is how famous social media figures reacted to the news.
Hossam El-Sayed, a movie director and animation filmmaker, told Arab News: “The decision was expected and obvious in light of the entertainment boom in the Kingdom. The impact of the local film industry is linked to academic education, which I hope will soon be intensively spread through workshops of the international film industry.”
He said: “I believe Twitter gauges the real pulse of decisions and the community rejoiced in it. As an animated filmmaker, I question how talented filmmakers will be supported in the region.”
Ali Al-Sumain, a Saudi director, told Arab News: “The real industry will now begin. With cinemas, individuals in the Saudi community will be exposed to a new type of entertainment...”
He added: “It will create a huge difference in the way we perceive things around us, so if a person is watching a movie for the sake of art appreciation, art will be appreciated more.
“I will be affected as one of the audience before being affected as a director in the first place. The phrase ‘I am going to the cinema’ will be probably the one I am going to use most.”
Mamdoh Salem organized and supervised the first Saudi film festival, with a total of 27 television shows under his name, he told Arab News: “The cultural and entertainment system has been completed now after the decision to allow cinemas and the community will live a normal social life.”
“On a personal level, I am currently at the Dubai Film Festival to sign contracts to produce Saudi and Gulf films as well as to purchase the rights of some international films.”
He added: “The film industry in Saudi Arabia and the Western region will recover in view of the importance of the Saudi market size.”
Ibrahim Saleh is a Saudi writer, comedian and the presenter of “Bab Wahid,” a sport program about the world of Saudi football on MBC Pro Sports, told Arab News: “The whole Saudi community witnessed the steps that have been taken recently and how Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave entertainment in our country great attention, particularly in supporting talented young men and women as well as supporting cultural and artistic diversification in different activities.”
“I am a young man who aspires to provide many youth works that reflect the aspirations of the Saudi youth in particular and convey an honorable image of my country and my religion, which has been badly distorted lately.
“I really want to deliver clear, worthy messages that reflect about us to all segments of the world through Saudi cinema,” he said.
Saleh said rapprochement between artists, directors, photographers and writers is an important requirement to gain experience and exchange views and ideas related to Saudi and Arab art.
Many social media tweeted about the news, such as famous Saudi movie critic Maher Mousy, who was so thrilled that he recorded a video of himself dancing on his snapchat to express his excitement, in addition to his Twitter account that was full of tweets about the news.
Louay Al-Shareef, a Saudi writer, programmer and presenter of “Falimha” show, tweeted: “Films taught me a lot about the English language...”
2017 is the year of achievements for the Kingdom, in line with the Vision 2030 and all the important entertainment decisions came with it, such as offering music concerts, allowing women to drive and today, cinemas.
 
 


Farasan Islands initiative launched to boost Saudi tourism

Updated 57 min 46 sec ago
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Farasan Islands initiative launched to boost Saudi tourism

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has unveiled an initiative to develop the Farasan Islands in Jazan and turn them into a unique tourist destination as part of Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Program 2020.
The initiative seeks to take advantage of the distinct features of the islands, including their abundant coral reefs, captivating beaches, rich cultural heritage, pure waters, unique geographical location, mangrove forests, diverse marine species and rare animals and birds.
SCTH explained that the initiative includes plans for hotels, coastal resorts, marine activities, and recreational and heritage sites.
The initiative is expected to generate an annual revenue of SR531 million ($141 million), and attract 375,000 tourists per year to the islands.
1,760 hotel rooms will be made available and more than 6,200 jobs will be created.