JEDDAH: Actor and model Ian Somerhalder, star of “The Vampire Diaries,” thrilled fans at a sold-out Comic Con, responding to a warm welcome with “Saedna bi liqaikum,” or “very pleased to meet you.”
Somerhalder, a special guest at the event, told his audience: “I have traveled the whole world and this is by far the most special. I’ve never been to Saudi and have always wanted to come.”
Saudi Comic Con promised Twitter followers an unforgettable night on Thursday, with screenings of films such as “Bilal” and a local production “Mas’hoor” (or “Enchanted“), live performances by Saudi musicians including Mojo, and a surprise appearance by YouTube vloggers the Saudi Reporters.
Somerhalder later told Arab News: “There are few places in the world where I feel as welcomed and loved, a real sense of belonging. There is so much history here and so much beauty — I have never seen something like this where the sea meets the desert. It’s so beautiful.
Earlier, the actor told a panel discussion that he looked forward to being part of the Kingdom’s “film and television revolution.”
He said the reopening of cinemas in the country was encouraging but offered a warning. “People can enjoy film and television with community and people around you, but it’s important not to become jaded.
PHOTO GALLERY: Saudi Comic Con 2018 - Jeddah
“You have to appreciate what you see from a filmmaker’s perspective, and be respectful of the experience. Put your phone away and just enjoy it for an hour and a half or two. It’s an exciting time, and I hope to become a staple in this community as far as film and television goes.”
After his live performance, singer and songwriter Mojo told Arab News: “It was amazing to share my music with people here. I’m really appreciative of Time Entertainment for bringing this event to us, and the General Entertainment Authority.”
Sara Al-Ghamdi, an illustrator and motion graphics graduate, shared posters, stickers and postcards of characters from the video game “Overwatch” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things” at her booth. “The outcome is amazing. I didn’t expect it to be so crowded. People are so supportive and there were some cute reactions from passers-by.”
A visitor to Comic Con, Iyad Al-Qadi, told Arab News the event was important to the youth community. “It’s mind-blowing. We all want fun and entertainment.”
Saudi Comic Con is sponsored by the GEA and organized by Time Entertainment to bring performances to the Saudi community and support local artists. Last year’s Comic Con was judged best event of 2017 by the GEA.