Film festival heralds return of cinema to Saudi Arabia

The 12th European Film Festival has been organized by the embassies of several countries. (AN Photo)
Updated 21 February 2018

Film festival heralds return of cinema to Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: A week-long film festival is giving Saudi audiences an insight into what they can expect when cinema returns to the Kingdom later this year.
The 12th European Film Festival has been organized by the embassies and consulates of Belgium, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, France, Italy, Hungary and Norway, with support from the European Union delegation in Saudi Arabia.
The festival’s first screening took place on Feb. 17 at the German residence, with the film “My Blind Date with Life.”
On Feb. 18, the Italian consulate showed the film “Fire at Sea,” a 2016 documentary film directed by Gianfranco Rosi and winner of the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
Elisabetta Martini, consulate general of Italy, said the movie highlighted “a tragedy that is happening all around the world; the tragedy of the refugees and immigrants is something that is affecting all our lives and also leaving an impact on the artistic environment.”
She praised Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen its cinemas: “We consider Saudi Arabia as part of our broader Mediterranean region that shares the problems and the opportunities we have.”


Cinema investment in Saudi Arabia set to hit SR5bn in 2020

Updated 28 January 2020

Cinema investment in Saudi Arabia set to hit SR5bn in 2020

  • Saudi conference study reveals 140 cinemas planned for Kingdom creating estimated 5,300 jobs
  • One of the main goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan was to increase household spending on domestic entertainment from 2.9 percent to 6 percent of total expenditure

RIYADH: Investment in building new cinemas in Saudi Arabia was expected to top SR5 billion ($1.33 billion) during 2020, according to latest figures.

Data published ahead of the Cinema Build KSA 2020 conference, taking place at the Fairmont hotel in Riyadh on Feb. 19 to 20, revealed that 140 movie theaters were planned to open in 30 malls throughout the Kingdom, creating more than 5,300 job opportunities.

The Saudi cinema industry would see enormous growth and was set to become the leader in the region having already gained attention from stakeholders around the globe, research from conference partner Great Minds Group predicted.

With a total of 1,323 screens planned for the country, demand for materials and resources to build cinemas has increased dramatically.

The Cinema Build KSA report revealed that an estimated 158,760 cinema seats and more than 5,953,500 square feet of carpet would be required to realize this year’s growth plans, in addition to more than 18,852,750 square feet of gypsum boards, wall panels, and specialist ceiling materials and 1,250 air-handling units.

One of the main goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan was to increase household spending on domestic entertainment from 2.9 percent to 6 percent of total expenditure, considering that Saudi nationals spent about $30 billion annually on tourism and entertainment outside the Kingdom.

Supporting and enhancing the fast-growing cinema sector would not only recover Saudi investments abroad but would also create more than 5,314 job opportunities in 2020 in the Saudi market, according to the Cinema Build KSA report.

The Saudi cinema industry was predicted to see enormous growth and being the largest gathering of cinema stakeholders in the Kingdom, Cinema Build KSA 2020 aims to serve as a learning center for building world-class film theaters.

The event is organized by Eyes of Cities in association with the Great Minds Group. Boasting more than 300 attendees, at least 30 sponsors and exhibitors, and 25 international speakers, the second annual conference will cover a broader aspect of the burgeoning cinema industry in the Kingdom.