Soft opening for Saudi cinemas, then curtain up in May

People attend a film festival in Riyadh recently. (AFP file photo)
Updated 17 April 2018
0

Soft opening for Saudi cinemas, then curtain up in May

  • Cinemas were popular in major Saudi cities 50 years ago
  • Cinema revival in the Kingdom is part of widespread social reforms

JEDDAH: A new era of cinema history in Saudi Arabia will be ushered in at a private film screening this week.

The screening, a collaboration between the Saudi Development and Investment Entertainment Company and US theater giant AMC Entertainment, will take place on Wednesday at a newly built cinema complex in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District.

The private screening — one of a series of invitation-only shows — comes as cinemas in the Kingdom prepare to open their doors following the end of a 35-year ban. The move is part of widespread social reforms led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Cinemas will open their doors to the public in May, with tickets expected to go on sale online later this month.

Three screens will open in the third quarter of 2018, with 40 or more cinema complexes due to be built in the next five years.

Half a century ago, cinemas were popular in major cities in Saudi Arabia. Oil workers in the 1930s set up large outdoor screens to watch US and European films.

Cinemas quickly spread across the Kingdom, with 30 theaters operating in Jeddah alone. 

But religious changes in the Kingdom in the early 1980s led to a ban, forcing people to install home theaters or travel to neighboring countries to enjoy global films.

Saudis have been watching the rebirth of cinema in the Kingdom with growing excitement.

Jeddah student Amani Al-Ghoraibi told Arab News: “It will be a new experience that everyone is ready to embrace.” 

Teacher Maha Al-Zahrani said: “Cinemas were only banned because of some hard-liners. All citizens want them back.”


Comoros minister praises Muslim World League's development work

Muslim World League Secretary-General Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa distributes aid packets among poor families in Comoros. (SPA)
Updated 27 April 2018
0

Comoros minister praises Muslim World League's development work

  • The league’s contribution to the medical field totaled SR6,948,032
  • The league established six educational institutes more than 30 years ago

Comoros’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hamid Karhila, has commended the development efforts carried out by the Muslim World League (MWL) in his country. 

He also expressed his government’s gratitude to the MWL for its initiative launched by Secretary-General Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa.

Karhila said during a visit to the headquarters of the International Association for Relief, Care and Development (IARCD): “The new Comorian government aims to keep this cooperation with the MWL. This would help achieve more developmental and humanitarian projects that serve the Comorian people.”

Secretary-General of the IARCD Abdul Aziz Sarhan said: “The Muslim World League will continue to provide assistance and stand with the needy in all countries around the world.”

Sarhan said that the association carried out various humanitarian, medical and relief projects in the Comoros at a cost of SR10,916,645. These projects benefited 1,104,969 people between 2006 and 2017.

The league’s contribution to the medical field totaled SR6,948,032, which benefited 971,333 people. 

The league established six educational institutes more than 30 years ago. These institutes graduated thousands of students who occupy some of the highest positions in the Republic of the Comoros.

The MWL is also building a mosque at a cost of SR200,000 and working on the construction of an artesian well that cost SR130,000, as well as two surface wells at a cost of SR20,000.