DHAHRAN: The eighth edition of the Saudi Film Festival will be coming to town from June 2-9 at Ithra in Dhahran. This year’s theme will be “poetic cinema,” a homage to what the festival calls “aesthetic symbolism and philosophical connotations that stimulate the creative imagination.”
As in previous years, the festival aims to truly enrich the local cinematic scene by paying tribute to the local greats and offering seminars, advanced training workshops and screenings of Palme d’Or films, considered the films with the highest merit at the Cannes Film Festival.
Additionally, in an effort to further foster global collaboration, the festival will highlight Chinese cinema by screening a selection of films from China and publishing a set of translated knowledge books to support the festival’s role in enriching Arab content in the fields of cinema and filmmaking.
The festival details were announced at a press conference by Director of the Saudi Film Festival Ahmed Al-Mulla and Director of Programs at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture Ashraf Fakih. Al-Mulla stressed that the partnership between the Society for Culture and Arts in Dammam and Ithra was “one of the deepest cultural partnerships” in the Kingdom.
Both Al-Mulla and Fakih acknowledged the support of the Film Commission at the Ministry of Culture for its continuous contribution in providing substantial support for Saudi filmmakers.
In its eighth edition, the festival will honor Khalil bin Ibrahim Al-Rawaf, the first Saudi Arab filmmaker to become a Hollywood actor, and Khaled Al-Siddiq, a Kuwaiti producer, screenwriter and film director, who is considered one of the most important pioneers of the Kuwaiti cinematic movement. His film “Bas Ya Bahar,” or “The Cruel Sea,” which he produced and directed in 1972, was the first Kuwaiti film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.
Those interested in competing are invited to submit their entry via the Saudi Film Festival website through March 26. Nominees will have the opportunity to compete in seven categories in the feature film section; in four categories in the short film competition, including the Abdullah Al-Muhaisen award for a first film; and in six categories in the unexecuted script competition awards, including the Ghazi Al-Gosaibi Award for best screenplay for a Saudi novel.