Licensing opens for cinema in Saudi Arabia, says ministry

File Photo showing Saudis watch composer Yanni perform at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dec 3, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 02 March 2018
0

Licensing opens for cinema in Saudi Arabia, says ministry

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia began issuing licenses Thursday to operate cinemas in the kingdom ahead of their reopening after a decades-long ban was lifted as part of a far-reaching liberalization drive.
The move is another step toward opening the Saudi market to regional and international theater chains, which have long eyed the kingdom as the Middle East’s last untapped mass market.
The culture and information ministry said it had “finalized the terms of licencing to restore cinema in Saudi Arabia.”
“Licencing commences immediately,” the ministry added in a statement.
The news comes as Dubai-based VOX Cinemas, the leading operator in the Middle East, launches its first public screening in Saudi Arabia, which runs through Saturday and aims to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.
The screening in Riyadh will feature content from local producers including Myrkott Production and Telfaz Company, VOX said.
Major cinema chains are seeking to break into the market of more than 30 million people, the majority of whom are under 25.
In December, US giant AMC Entertainment signed a non-binding agreement with Saudi Arabia’s vast Public Investment Fund to build and operate cinemas across the kingdom.
AMC will still face stiff competition from regional heavyweights, including VOX.
The move to reopen cinemas is part of a modernization drive by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

Events are planned across the country to accompany the Souq Okaz festival. (AFP)
Updated 12 min 19 sec ago
0

Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

  • Makkah will host a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs
  • Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events

JEDDAH: Events accompanying Souq Okaz that promote the market and invite people to visit its cultural and heritage activities will kick off on Wednesday, under the patronage of King Salman. The Souq is organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and will run June 27 to July 13.

Makkah will host the event of “The Historical Convoys of Thi Al-Mejna and Thi Al-Mijaz Souqs,” a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs. These convoys show the method traders adopted to beat travel exhaustion and entertain themselves as they would sing about Souq Okaz and invite people to visit it.

Madinah will host the event “Let’s go to Souq Okaz,” which will encourage people to attend the cultural and heritage events. This event includes activities such as folk shows and interactive, innovative and heritage competitions.

Jeddah will host several cultural seminars focusing on the history of the souq as well as poetry readings and a theatrical show that represents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz.

Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events.

Taif will host “Souq Okaz for Performance Arts,” an event that includes heritage and cultural performance activities that reflect the souq’s identity in Al-Hada, Shifa and Ar-Rudaf Park. 

The events accompanying the souq this year will be launched on Friday in Al-Baha and many archaeological sites in the provinces of Al-Mikhwat, Al-Qura and Al-Mandaq.

The events include the camel convoy, horse shows, traditional folk and dancing shows, artifacts, Saudi traditional dishes and the introduction of some popular traditional and historical souqs in the regions.