Superheroes don their capes as second Saudi Comic Con comes to Jeddah

Saudi Comic Con's international guests from left to right: Ian Somerhalder, Wagner Moura and Gustaf Skarsgard.
Updated 21 March 2018

Superheroes don their capes as second Saudi Comic Con comes to Jeddah

JEDDAH: Excitement is building among comics fans as the second installment of Saudi Comic Con (SCC) is set to sweep over Jeddah from Thursday (March 22-24).
Last year’s SCC, the first event of its kind in Saudi Arabia, drew in more than 22,000 lovers of comics, manga, anime and film. Cosplayers dressed as their favorite characters, Marvel superheroes were sighted on the ground, artists met and networked, while children and adults basked in the all-encompassing presence of Star Wars and manga figures around the hall.
The three-day convention is an initiative sponsored by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and organized by Time Entertainment. It aims to give comic fans a place to plant their roots, to support local authors and storytellers, and provide entertainment, coinciding with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030.
“This year’s Comic Con is bigger, better and will hopefully witness an increase in attendees," Time Entertainment told Arab News. “It will be more engaging, especially toward local artists as we’ve given them greater exposure.”
This year’s event promises fans a flurry of new experiences with three international stars: The Vampire Diaries’ Ian Somerhalder, Narcos’ Wagner Moura and Vikings’ Gustaf Skarsgard.
Netflix will hold a public event for the first time in Saudi Arabia, while famous DC universe characters will make an appearance, including Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, the Joker and the Flash. There will be many competitions, including a gaming league on Thursday, and a cosplaying competition on Friday for males and females who will be able to participate in separate sections to showcase their talents.
Obada Awad, Time Entertainment CEO, said there was a huge demand for such an event: “Saudi Comic Con is a phenomenon that changed the entertainment scene in the country and paved the way for different types of entertainment in the Kingdom,” he said.
Notably, SCC received the award for Best International Event held in the Kingdom in 2017 from the GEA.

For more information about the three day event, visit

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 26 min 37 sec ago

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.