RIYADH: The Dutch Embassy will show 30 Saudi films during the first Golden Falcon Film Festival at the embassy premises in the Diplomatic Quarter next Tuesday and Wednesday (April 17 and 18), during which it will host three-hour screenings on three different screens placed at separate sites on the premises.
The films will be screened into three categories, best script, best director, and best movie.
Speaking to Arab News on Wednesday, Joost Reintjes, the Dutch ambassador in Riyadh, said: “The film festival is an excellent opportunity to provide the young Saudi filmmakers a platform to show their work. “It gives young Saudis the possibility to grow their talent with local and international experts,” added the envoy.
“The film festival will be a great stimulus to promote the filmmaking industry in Saudi Arabia,” said the ambassador.
He said that of the films screened at the festival, three best ones in different categories and their producers will be awarded the Golden Falcon trophy and a trip to study film-making and related technology in the Netherlands, which is known for making high-quality films.
The Netherlands is known for being a home to creative industries and open to international cooperation by putting on high-standard film festivals in the country, including the international film festival in Rotterdam and the international documentary film festival in Amsterdam, the world’s largest documentary festival.
The visitors will attend seminars and workshops on filmmaking during their stay, the envoy said.
“The initiative to launch this film festival in Riyadh comes with a Dutch touch after the lifting of the ban on cinemas that lasted for 35 years in the Kingdom,” said Reintjes.
It will be in the King Abdullah Financial District in a building originally intended to be a symphony concert hall, and three more screens will be added by mid-summer.
Hans Treffers, head of the jury for the Golden Falcon Award, said: “I am pleasantly surprised by the overall high quality of the submissions.”
“The quality of films shortlisted to be screened at the festival are exceptional, they add to the popular Saudi film sector, which is widely appreciated and respected in international film festivals,” he added.
The Director of the Golden Falcon Film Festival Jeroen Gankema, who is the first secretary at the Netherlands embassy, said: “The Kingdom and the Netherlands can capitalize on opportunities in the film and entertainment industry.”
Films to be shown at the festival include “1991,” “Al Qatt,” “Bilal,” “Zeina’s Cake,” “Luba Colors,” and “Hudu Mountasaf El Layl.”