First cinema in Jeddah opens

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Bader Alzahrani, center, CEO, General Commission of Audiovisual Media, cuts the ribbon at Monday’s opening of the first cinema in Jeddah. (Photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Jeddah has the region’s first dedicated children’s cinema. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Jeddah has the region’s first dedicated children’s cinema. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Ushers welcome moviegoers during Monday’s opening of the first cinema in Jeddah. (Photo by Huda Bashatah )
Updated 29 January 2019

First cinema in Jeddah opens

  • Total revenue expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2030: PwC Middle East
  • Decades-long cinema ban ended last April.

JEDDAH: Jeddah’s first cinema opened its doors to the public on Monday, and an industry expert told Arab News he expected up to 35 million people in the Kingdom to go to the movies every year. 

Cinemas were banned in the country for decades until the first one opened last April in Riyadh. 

Cameron Mitchell, CEO of the regional cinema chain Majid Al Futtaim, said Saudi Arabia had the capacity for high audience numbers.

 

He was speaking at the opening ceremony for Vox Cinemas in Jeddah‘s Red Sea Mall.

“If you look at Dubai we have some 15 million customers there per annum. On the short-term goal in Saudi Arabia we are expecting the market to reach about 30 million customers,” he said.

Research from PwC Middle East in November estimated that total cinema revenue in Saudi Arabia would reach $1.5 billion by 2030. The forecast was based on a projected 2030 population of 39.5 million, and 6.6 screens per 100,000 people. 

Last year, Vox Cinemas said it would be investing $533 million to open 600 theaters in the next five years.

“Some 95 percent of our employees here are from Saudi Arabia. In any country where we operate cinemas, we localize the team. We have an Egyptian team in Egypt and a Lebanese team in Lebanon and of course Saudis in Saudi Arabia,” Mitchell said. 

“We expect the cinemas in the Red Sea Mall to be showing…a mix of films, probably about 300 films per year with at least six new movies every single week. It will take a while for us to have enough cinemas for everyone to get to go to the cinema whenever they want to. 

“In my opinion, the cinema is a good place for families to spend time together in a social environment, especially in hot summer days, when outdoor activities are limited.” 

 

There will be cinemas in Tabuk by the end of this year or by early 2020 and the Saudi government has been very helpful, he said, adding: “We got the license last April and we were keen to do the required steps and follow the regulations, and that went smoothly.”

There would be no issues with gender segregation as there were cinemas for families and separate ones for bachelors, according to Mitchell.

The lifting of the cinema ban is part of the Vision 2030 reform plan.

 


Lebanese designer celebrates Saudi Arabia’s hidden treasure through art

Miriam El-Moula says she feels like she was born with art in her DNA.
Updated 5 min 42 sec ago

Lebanese designer celebrates Saudi Arabia’s hidden treasure through art

  • Miriam El-Moula marks Saudi Arabia’s culture and heritage through sustainable artworks

RIYADH: Defectless, a six-month-old lifestyle brand, is inspired by revealing hidden beauty. It started by highlighting the diversity of Saudi Arabia’s landscape. Unlocking the once-hidden treasures and memorializing them into contemporary and sustainable art pieces.
“I want to create pieces that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but that tell stories of people and places and inspire human progress,” 24-year-old artist Miraim El-Moula told Arab News.
“That is why I am so inspired by what’s happening in Saudi Arabia and the emergence of these new destinations. These destinations were hidden from the world. Now they are shocking the consciousness of many artists, me included, with the beauty of their nature, heritage, and people. They are worth being celebrated.”
Her designs are from four different regions in Saudi Arabia: Asir, AlUla, the Red Sea, and Riyadh. “That’s what I want to show people, that Saudi is not just a desert country. It is much more,” she said.
Hand sculpted from pure marble El-Moula’s latest creation is the Guardian of AlUla. “To me, the elephant rock is a natural wonder that stood the test of time. It is proof that nature is the ultimate artist.”

I love touching material and matching colors. Creating a new piece of art brings me internal happiness.

Miriam El-Moula

Inspired by the people of Asir and the community of the southern city, she recreated Asir Fortress in a contemporary handcrafted way. “I was inspired: On the one hand, the fortress represents the warriors who dedicated their lives to protect their lands, and on the other, Al-Qat pattern, engraved on it, represents the woman of Asir who enriched this community with their vibrant, colorful art.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Miriam El-Moula’s designs are from four different regions in Saudi Arabia: Asir, AlUla, the Red Sea, and Riyadh.

• Inspired by the people of Asir and the community of the southern city, she recreated Asir Fortress in a contemporary handcrafted way.

• She uses sustainable materials, such as concrete, to replicate the age-old corals. The center is covered with gold making it a beautiful centerpiece.

• A marble tray made out of gold bowls that represent the historic Diriyah buildings — home to the leaders of Saudi Arabia — when conjoined is a representation of the UNESCO heritage site.

“Red Sea Siglia” was created by her inspiration from the marine treasures of the Red Sea. “These coral reefs are 6,000 years old and irreplaceable. They are a gift to mankind that must be celebrated and protected.”
She uses sustainable materials, such as concrete, to replicate the age-old corals. The center is covered with gold making it a beautiful centerpiece.
A marble tray made out of gold bowls that represent the historic Diriyah buildings — home to the leaders of Saudi Arabia — when conjoined is a representation of the UNESCO heritage site.
El-Moula knew from the beginning she wanted to be a designer. As a schoolgirl, she was infatuated with art class and even skipped other classes in school in order to develop her beloved passion.
“I feel like I was born with art in my DNA,” she said. “I love to look at spaces and always have an opinion on how they can look better. I love touching material and matching colors. Creating a new piece of art brings me internal happiness.”
Her first art display will be at Winter of Tantoura in AlUla.