Four Saudi films are participating it the 69th Berlin International Film Festival – held February 7-17- with reports showing that nine Saudi nationals have made it to the list of top 100 influencers in Arab Film Industry.
The Saudi filmmaking industry has been witnessing remarkable growth over the last few years.
Saudi films participating in Festival are: “Hayat Molawana” (Arabic for “Colorful Life”) by Abdel Rahman Sondaggi, “Oghniyat Al Bajaa” (Arabic for “The Song of the Swan”) by director Hana Al Omair, "Jaber" by director Abdul Rahman al-Jandal and “Qobool” (Arabic for “Acceptance”) by director Sarah Al-Muneef.
The four films will be screened next Monday at the Festival.
The list of the 100 most influential people in the Arab film industry, according to a report released by Arab Cinema Center, a non-profit organization registered in Amsterdam and promoting Arab filmmaking, included Saudi influences working to enrich the cinematic movement both in the Kingdom and the Arab world.
Amongst those named in the report were Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, Rotana group owner, and Turki Al-Shabanah, a famous Saudi media personality associated with Rotana.
Shabanah was also listed by Variety as one of the 500 most influential figures in media worldwide.
The Saudi cinema industry is witnessing remarkable recovery with authorities covering an ambitious plan to open and operate 350 high-end movie theaters across the Kingdom. More than 2,500 screens would be up and running by 2030.
The report also listed Haifaa al-Mansour, the first female Saudi filmmaker who has enjoyed a thriving career. In one of her works, Mansour shed light on openness in Saudi Arabia.
“Wadjda”, the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director, has won many awards and earned more than $7 million.
The list also included Saudi director and producer Mamdouh Salem, CEO of Cinema 70 which is run by Rowad Media. Salem is also founder of the first film festival in Saudi Arabia.
Hadeel Kamel, a managing director at Arab Radio and Television Network, was also included.
The TV group is cited as the reason behind the largest Arab film library in the Arab world, which accounts for about 60 percent of the history of Arab film heritage.
Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, founder and chairman of Middle East Broadcasting Center, the largest free television group in the Arab world, better known as the MBC Group, was also mentioned.
Saudi screenwriter Ayman Jamal, who co-authored and directed “Bilal: A New Breed of Hero, was also included in the list.