LONDON: The Saudi Ministry of Economy and Planning launched on Jan. 20 the short film “The Story,” which was featured at Expo 2020 Dubai, showcasing the Kingdom's transformation and growth.
The film’s debut to a global audience, supported by the Ministry of Culture, came on the closing day of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023, following the film’s positive reception at Expo 2020.
The production company, MBC Studios, hired world-renowned director Owen Harris to bring “The Story” to life, showcasing Saudi Arabia’s transformation to global audiences.
“With one year to go until the launch of Expo 2020 Dubai, the working team from the Ministry of Economy and Planning were tasked in delivering a short film for the Saudi Pavilion cinema,” said Saud Altobaishi, general manager of the ministry’s strategic communications.
He added: “Back then, the Executive Committee leading the design, operations, and delivery of the Saudi Pavilion was led by the Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal F. Alibrahim, when he was the vice minister of economy and planning, and he assigned me to lead and manage the delivery of the short film stream.
“With the clock ticking toward the Saudi Pavilion’s opening day and budgets uncertain, we had to improvise.”
The ministry’s team sought to highlight the Kingdom’s transformation, particularly social and economic growth, and diversity.
“We wanted to show the impact that our evolving economy is having on the quality of life in Saudi Arabia, not by using numbers, but by using raw and real emotions,” Altobaishi said.
The script for “The Story” was developed by Alibrahim and Altobaishi over a single weekend, a few weeks after the creation of the Saudi Pavilion “Cloud Walker” campaign.
“Our partners at the Ministry of Culture and the vice minister of culture, Hamed M. Fayez, provided invaluable technical support at this stage,” Altobaishi added.
Partners in the film creation include the Saudi Tourism Authority and Princess Noura Bint Abdulmohsen of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, both of whom facilitated the filming and production process.
Altobaishi said: “When this film was done, I was an adviser to the Minister of Economy and Planning and Head of Marketing and Communications as well as Head of the film stream for the Saudi Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai from early 2020 to October 2021, just before the opening of Expo Dubai.”
“It was no surprise that ‘The Story’ was a hit among Expo 2020 visitors, an immersive journey that captured the essence of our rich cultural heritage and the cutting-edge, innovation-driven future our leadership is shaping through Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.
“Visitors were so captivated by the film that they requested a public version to share with their friends and family, which further solidified its success and resonance among audiences.”