CANNES: During the annual Cannes Film Festival in France, Saudi Arabia’s Studio Production Training announced the launch of The Studio, an initiative to help build a robust film industry infrastructure in the Kingdom by providing local and international filmmakers with qualified below-the-line (BTL) talent.
Backed by the Saudi Cultural Development Fund, The Studio seeks to educate BTL talent and provide filmmakers with support throughout the production process. SPT aims to be a one-stop-shop for aspiring filmmakers by providing training, mentoring, production resources and access to industry networks.
SPT is currently partnered with various institutions, streaming platforms and production companies, including Netflix, Telfaz11 and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Stephen Andrew Martin, co-founder of SPT, told Arab News: “We’re building a ladder up, we’re starting with people that may not know that they have the skills, but they do have the skills to have a career, we’re introducing them to the film industry, we’re showing them that these positions are paid, well, they’re appreciated. We’re giving them the opportunity not just to learn the skills, but to get placed with the companies and to grow with those companies.
“We’re growing every one of the businesses locally in hopes of creating an infrastructure strong enough that the tip-top can skip off to Netflix, or to Warner Brothers or to any of these big companies and rule the international box office.”
SPT was co-founded by Saudi filmmaker Hajar Al-Naim, who is also the CEO, due to her desire to bring BTL knowledge and training to the novel film industry in Saudi Arabia.
“I’ve been dying to make movies and I feel like our struggle is that we (in Saudi Arabia) don’t have people that understand storytelling. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing, not only to support the country or the international co-productions — it’s because I think this is the only way for our talent to learn. Once they get that knowledge … they can make our movies look professional,” Al-Naim told Arab News.
The announcement was followed by the company’s flagship “Together We Grow” roundtable series that featured regional and international producers discussing the struggles and opportunities of filmmaking in Saudi Arabia.