Jeddah Film Fest gets go ahead despite protests

Criticism fails to prevent success of Saudi film competition.
A viewer shows off his ticket to watch Menahi on the big screen.
A viewer shows off his ticket to watch Menahi on the big screen.


The fourth edition of the Jeddah Film Festival will be held in Saudi Arabia later this summer despite protests from hardliners in the Kingdom.

More than 200 films have been submitted to the festival with a whopping 70 entries from Saudi Arabia, 17 from the UAE, 15 from Bahrain, seven from Kuwait, one from Oman and several others from Europe and Asia.

Not all entries will be screened at the festival, organiser Rowad Media for Media Production and Distribution clarified.

“We have received a very good selection of films and we need to select from them,” stated filmmaker and Rowad general manager, Mamdouh Saleh. ”We have created a technical committee to evaluate the entries for the festival and the competitions. The committee will announce the complete list of films participating in the festival early next month.”
Selected submissions will be entered into various competitions. Details of prizes, however, have not been disclosed.

After adopting an ultra conservative approach since the 1970s, Saudi Arabia cautiously opened its theatres earlier this year to screen popular Saudi film, Menahi.

While the initiative has been condemned by several conservative hardliners in the Kingdom, it has been cheered by a new generation of Saudi filmmakers in the country who have struggled to receive national acceptance of this art form.

Dates for the festival were unconfirmed at the time of press.

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