Lights, camera, action: Kingdom opens up to cinema industry
Good news for film lovers.
The Labor Ministry has reportedly allowed film production entrepreneurs to recruit personnel to kickstart the cinema industry, which has hitherto been considered taboo in the Kingdom.
Information on how to register for cinema licenses is available on the Labor Ministry portal, according to a leading news channel.
A source at the ministry confirmed the news with Arab News, but did not divulge further details, saying a formal statement is expected to be issued soon.
Expert sources, who are helping investors acquire business licenses with the Labor Ministry, have confirmed that new investment opportunities, which previously did not exist, have opened up in the cinema field.
There has also been demand to open up the cinema industry to the public, especially among youth.
The Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media, the authority that is officially tasked with dealing with cinema-related issues, has also received demand from other segments of Saudi society.
Omar Al-Jaser, a noted film producer and senior executive of the Saudi Film Producers’ Society in the Makkah region, has welcomed the decision. “If this news is confirmed, Saudi youth will be able to showcase their culture through home-made film productions,” Al-Jaser told Arab News.
“Saudi producers resort to going abroad in the absence of filming prospects in the country,” he said.
“Enthusiastic youth are making and showcasing Saudi movies in Dubai and Cairo, as well as other prominent cities, where audiences are not acquainted with Saudi productions.”
“There is no harm in introducing this industry on our soil as long as it does not violate Islamic law,” said Al-Jaser.
“This new field will open the doors for ample employment opportunity and help Saudi youth harbor their creative potential.”
“Some people are even planning to request the introduction of professional courses in film production,” he said.
Rotana has made two movies in the past.
Saudi female director Haifa Al-Mansour made “Wadjda,” the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director.
Wadjda won numerous awards at film festivals around the world and was the first Saudi film to be submitted for the Best Foreign Language Oscar category.