2021 Cannes Film Festival Saudi pavilion shines the spotlight on the Kingdom’s film industry


RIYAD – The Saudi Film Commission celebrates the remarkable emergence of cinematography and cinema in the Kingdom through its exhibition at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, which takes place from July 6 to 17.

The film industry in Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing in the Middle East, both in film production and consumption and in streaming programming.

The dynamism of the sector creates a unique business opportunity for international filmmakers, producers and creators who wish to collaborate or create content for the Saudi film market, which is expected to grow to $ 1.2 billion by 2030.

On the opening day of the Saudi pavilion in Cannes, Abdullah Al-Qhatani, CEO of the Film Commission, said: “We are delighted to present the best of the Saudi film industry at this renowned international event. Cannes is one of the highlights of the industry calendar and we look forward to meeting our counterparts and forming mutually beneficial partnerships.

“Right now, there is a huge investment opportunity in the sector, with spectacular scenery for filming and a pool of emerging and enthusiastic talent complemented by a rapidly developing film infrastructure. We have experienced tremendous growth in the industry in just a few short years, and we are confident that it will continue to grow exponentially ”, Al-Qhatani added.

Figures released at the META Cinema Forum 2020 exhibitors’ conference showed the Kingdom to be the region’s most profitable territory, with more than $ 73 million in movie ticket sales made in the previous year. , a feat made all the more impressive in a difficult year for cinema due to the pandemic.

The opportunities in the sector are already recognized by the international titans. Netflix recently announced a five-year partnership with a Saudi digital media studio, Telfaz11, to produce eight feature films, as well as top performing local Saudi films on its streaming platform with The Perfect Candidate, Scales and Masameer.

With more than half of Saudi media revenue coming from home entertainment, there is huge market potential for producers of streaming and online content. An incredible 95% of Saudi internet users watch videos online (2019) and video on demand has grown at a staggering 27% per year over the past five years.

The Film Commission is developing the sector by incorporating a regulatory framework, stimulating investment in the sector, developing Saudi talent, establishing international partnerships and events, and positioning the Kingdom as a world-class filming destination.

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a cultural transformation as part of Vision 2030, which diversifies the economy. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture, the culture sector is expected to contribute more than $ 23 billion to the Saudi economy and create 100,000 jobs over the next decade.

It should be mentioned that the Saudi Pavilion is designed in a modern way, with the participation of several government agencies, private sector and Saudi companies specializing in the field, namely: Saudi Film Commission, Saudi Ministry of Investment, Red Sea International. Film Festival, NEOM, Film Al-Ula, MBC Group, Ithra, Nebras Films, Telfaz11, CineWaves Films and Arabian Pictures, in addition to a group of filmmakers and people interested in this field.

There are a range of events in the pavilion, including Meet the Saudi Film Industry on Friday July 8 and Meet the Producers on Saturday July 9.

The Saudi Film Commission, one of the 11 sectoral commissions of the Ministry of Culture, oversees the evolution of the Kingdom’s film industry, supporting established and emerging film professionals and identifying and promoting local Saudi talent.

The Film Commission was launched in 2020 to stimulate the growth of a thriving production ecosystem to meet increasing domestic and international demand.

Supported by the Kingdom Vision 2030 strategic framework, the Ministry of Culture is leading a cultural transformation to develop a rich ecosystem that nurtures creativity, unlocks the economic potential of the sector and unleashes inspiring new forms of expression. – SPA


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