Despite the fact that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the film industry, award shows, and film festivals in 2020, The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is hosting the sixth Saudi Film Festival from September 1 – 6, 2020. For the first time, the screening portion of the event will be completely virtual. Mounted in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture & Arts in Dammam and the support of the Ministry of Culture’s Film Commission, the annual festival showcases the Saudi film industry through screenings, competitions, discussions, workshops, and award ceremonies.
The good news for cinephiles is that the online aspect of the 2020 festival allows for 24-hour access to this year’s 25 films via the Saudi Film Festival’s YouTube channel and includes the live broadcast of discussions with filmmakers.
Launched in 2008, the Saudi Film Festival has developed into a major catalyst for the Kingdom’s burgeoning film industry.
Since its inception, Ithra has developed into one of the Kingdom’s leading venues for film premieres and programming. It is also one of Saudi’s leading film production houses. Ithra’s support of the growing Saudi film industry has given rise to multiple productions that have received accolades and awards at prestigious local and international film festivals. Several Ithra-produced movies are now being streamed via Netflix to viewers around the world.
To date, Ithra has produced 20 films that have received 15 local and international awards.
“Our first huge step forward was in 2018,” noted Ithra Director Hussain Hanbazazah, “when Ithra produced and premiered the feature film ‘Joud’ to international acclaim and multiple awards. In 2019, Ithra produced more than 150 works of original content, including eight movies. Ithra has always sought to tap into the wealth of talented men and women of the Kingdom and provide them with a dynamic platform and the tools to take their art to the next level of a very competitive industry.”
While 2020 remains to be a challenging year, Ithra continues its support of local cinematic content creation by partnering up again with the Saudi Film Festival and screening original films.
“Film has been a bright point for Ithra,” concluded Hanbazazah, “and the Center has absolutely been a launching point for the Saudi film industry.”
Ithra’s cinematic initiatives include regular meetings of the Ithra Film Society and the Saudi Film Days contest, a competitive platform for local cinematic production where works of the winners are made into reality.
One of Ithra’s leading features is the 300-seat state-of-the-art cinema and screening venue. The Ithra Cinema regularly presents new and compelling films from Saudi Arabia’s blossoming film industry, as well as documentaries, movies for kids, and popular and historical films.
For more about the Saudi Film Festival, Ithra’s film programs and movies at the Ithra Cinema, visit: www.ithra.com
A strong upper Egyptian woman! By day, Gilan uses her voice and platform to educate, advocate, and enhance the voices of minorities, and by night, she paints her face with bright colors and glitter!