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
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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.


‘Our History is Misk’ revive 20 traditional professional figures in Jeddah

Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life. (AN photo)
Updated 24 September 2018
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‘Our History is Misk’ revive 20 traditional professional figures in Jeddah

  • Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life

JEDDAH: “Our History is Misk,” supported by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation, is being organized at the historical site of Jeddah.
The event is bringing nostalgia through a number of scenes that embody the life the city witnessed decades ago.
It comes as one of the activities of the foundation’s initiatives center and is part of its role in encouraging creativity and promoting national values in society.
The activities include an open theater to portray the professions of Jeddah citizens in the past. A number of local actors brought 20 extinct professions back to life through their performances.
One of the actors sits in the center, playing the role of the mayor, who used to help the people and solved their differences. Also showcased were the “decorator,” who is similar to barbers nowadays, the distribution of fabrics used in houses at the time, the selling of water in alleys for nominal amounts of money, and the restoration and cleaning of shoes.
Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life. In them, people with all kinds of professions met to drink tea and listen to a storyteller.