The Film Authority inaugurates the Kingdom’s pavilion participating in the Cannes Film Festival

On Tuesday, May 16, the Film Authority inaugurated the national pavilion participating in the 76th session of the Cannes International Film Festival, which will be held from May 16 to 26. Through this pavilion, the Authority sheds light on the Saudi film industry.

“We are pleased to return to the Cannes Film Festival after a successful year of developing the local film industry offerings, and we strive to become a global center for film production and talent,” said Abdullah Al Ayaf, CEO of the Film Authority, adding: “The Kingdom’s revenues from the box office are the fastest growing. In the Middle East now,” he continues, “There is a growing interest in local stories told through the eyes of a new group of enthusiastic filmmakers, and we seek to cooperate with the international film industry and establish global partnerships, present our shows for filming inside the Kingdom, and celebrate the film industry,” and concluded by saying: “ We are glad to see so many filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa at this event.”

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The Saudi pavilion located in the International Village includes a group of the most important local authorities in the cinema sector, including the Cultural Development Fund, the Ministry of Investment, the Red Sea Film Festival, the Al-Ula Film Administration, the NEOM Company, the Saudi Film Festival, and MBC Studios. The participating delegation also includes a group One of the promising Saudi talents in the film industry who recently finished production of their feature works, and contributed to the development of the local film-making culture.

The authority organizes a series of activities and events during the festival, including the “Hospitality of the Kingdom” event on Palm Beach in Cannes, during which it hosted a number of experts in the field of film industry, producers and directors, and the participating delegation of the Kingdom; To discuss opportunities for cooperation, the pavilion also organizes two dialogue sessions dealing with several topics and talks with partners in the film sector, the first of which is entitled: “The Cinema Sector in the Kingdom”, and the second is entitled: “Photos in Saudi Arabia.” In collaboration with Screen Magazine, And in the presence of a number of producers in the cinema sector; In order to discuss investing in emerging markets.

The Film Authority launched its competitive 40% cash-back incentive program last year at the Cannes Film Festival; To encourage local, regional and international film producers to establish their creative works in the Kingdom, to support the growth of the film and television production sector, and to increase its competitiveness in the international arena; In addition to the diverse shooting locations, world-class infrastructure, and the increase in skilled crews, this will contribute to the remarkable growth in film production during the first quarter of 2023.

And the Kingdom occupies the forefront as the best market in the Middle East, five years after the reopening of cinemas, increasing its revenue share from 15% to more than 40% of the Middle East’s revenues. Saudi Arabia in 2022 amounted to about $ 250 million, an increase of 9% compared to the previous year, and the movie “Top Gun Maverick” topped the box office with more than $ 20 million in ticket sales, exceeding the total number of tickets sold, which amounted to 14 million tickets.

It is noteworthy that the sector has achieved positive results, as a television studio made the latest comedy film “Sattar”, which revolves around the world of free wrestling, breaking records to become the most prominent Saudi film so far, and reaping huge profits that qualified it to be among the five most profitable films in the region, with more than Of the 900,000 tickets sold, the value is estimated at more than $10 million.

The Kingdom has provided distinctive filming locations for major Hollywood films, with “Al-Ula” hosting the action and thriller “Kandahar” directed by Rick Roman Waugh, starring Gerard Butler, which is scheduled for international release on May 26, and the thriller “Match Maker” produced by Netflix. “NEOM” as the largest modern facility in the region, with four operational phases, and six other phases scheduled to open by the end of 2023, providing support for a total of 30 productions; Including the historical epic movie “Desert Warrior” by Robert White, starring Anthony Mackie, the fantasy adventure series “Rise of the Cheese” – the largest TV series produced in cooperation with a Saudi crew -, and the comedy movie “Donkey” directed by Rajkumar Hirani and starring the famous international star Shah Rukh Khan. .

It is noteworthy that the Kingdom hosts two film festivals annually. The “Saudi Film Festival” was distinguished in its ninth edition, which was held at the Ithra Center in Dhahran, becoming a decisive starting point for new and passionate voices. The Red Sea International Film Festival, in its second edition, was also a resounding success, and was widely praised for its role in promoting the field of filmmaking and its events, showing 143 films from 66 countries, including seven new Saudi films, and 16 local short films.