Lights, camera, action: The night movies came back to Saudi Arabia

Children await the film screening in Jeddah on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Lights, camera, action: The night movies came back to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Film fans went to the movies in Saudi Arabia at the weekend for the first time in 35 years.
Feature-length animated children’s films were screened at a makeshift cinema set up in a cultural hall in Jeddah — and full-scale movie theaters could open as early as March as authorities finalize regulations and a legal framework.
“We are working with government officials and private companies. In 90 days, we will have the details,” General Commission for Audiovisual Media spokesman Abdullah Al-Shamlani told Arab News.
Meanwhile cinema chiefs are doing their best to make film fans feel at home, with a projector, a red carpet and a popcorn machine at their temporary venue.
“There is no infrastructure for movie theaters, so we are trying to take advantage of venues to approximate the cinematic form,” said Mamdouh Salim, whose Cinema 70 brand has organized a week of screenings.
“We tried to use these films to be a starting point as the first cinematic screening after the decision on Dec. 11 to permit movie theaters.”
After watching The Emoji Movie with his wife and daughter on Sunday evening, Sultan Al-Otaibi, 28, said Saudis were happy to see movies in a cinema instead of staying at home.
“It’s more comfortable, more fun to have a change of scenery and an activity at the weekend. It is a step that was very late in coming but thank God it’s happening now.”
Saudi authorities expect to open 300 cinemas with 2,000 screens by 2030, building an industry it hopes will contribute more then SR90 billion ($24 billion) to the economy and create 30,000 permanent jobs.
Regional and international cinema chains are also eyeing the Saudi market, keen to tap the spending power of the young people who make up roughly 70 percent of the population.
“I want to see everything because it is something new for Saudis,” said 30-year-old moviegoer Ibtisam Abu Talib, 30
“I hope everything is available — action, romance, children’s films, comedy. Everything, God willing.”


Around 3 million arrested for residency, labor violations in KSA

405,806 were transferred to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents. (SPA)
Updated 21 April 2019
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Around 3 million arrested for residency, labor violations in KSA

  • 1,227 Saudi citizens were arrested for harboring the violators against local laws, of which 50 are being detained, pending the completion of procedures

RIYADH: Nearly 3 million violators of residency, work and border security systems have been arrested in a year-long roundup, according to an official report.
Since the campaign began in November 2017, there have been 2,987,317 offenders, including 2,328,031 for violating residency regulations, 458,591 for labor violations and 200,695 for border violations, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The report said that 50,388 people were arrested while trying to cross the border into the Kingdom, 50 percent of whom were Yemeni citizens, 47 percent were Ethiopians and 3 percent were of other nationalities.
2,135 people were arrested for trying to cross the border into neighboring countries and 3,697 were arrested for involvement in transporting and harboring those violators. 1,227 Saudi citizens were arrested for harboring the violators against local laws, of which 50 are being detained, pending the completion of procedures.
Immediate penalties were imposed against 443,210 offenders; 405,806 were transferred to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents; 507,042 were transferred to complete their travel reservations; and 750,504 were deported.