Film festival opens in cinema-less Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Film Festival opened its doors for its 4th edition on March 27
Saudi actor Saed Khader waves his honour award for his achievements at the opening ceremony of the fourth Saudi Film Festival. (AFP/Getty Images)
Saudi actor Saed Khader waves his honour award for his achievements at the opening ceremony of the fourth Saudi Film Festival. (AFP/Getty Images)

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The Saudi Film Festival marked its opening on March 27 with 58 homegrown cinematic works to be screened in the ultra-conservative kingdom that continues to ban public cinemas, according to an AFP report.

"Welcome to all of you, filmmakers, makers of art and makers of hope," Ahmed al-Mulla, festival director was quoted as saying to the participants at the opening ceremony, which was broadcasted online.

The fourth edition of the festival had been slated to run from March 23-28 in the Gulf coastal city of Dhahran, but it was pushed back due to stormy weather. This is the third consecutive annual film festival in Saudi Arabia after a hiatus of seven years, the report added.

The festival includes four competitions for feature films, documentaries, student productions, and unproduced scripts.

It is scheduled to open with a drama that resonates, as the kingdom's tentative efforts to expand entertainment face resistance from conservatives.

Saudi Arabia late last year began a cautious push to introduce entertainment, despite opposition from Muslim hardliners.

 

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