The Saudi Film Commission (SFC) is participating in the 75th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival which runs from May 17-28, to showcase the country’s booming film industry, showcase its unique and pristine film locations, and championing new and exciting talent with the goal of becoming a world-class hub for film and television production.

Located in the International Village, the Saudi Pavilion will be the epicenter of information, events, panel discussions and networking, bringing together partner countries that are making great strides in building industry and improving the ecosystem in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Thursday.

The Saudi Film Commission will be joined by partners from across the Saudi film industry, including the Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF), Film AlUla (the film agency of the Royal AlUla Commission), the Ministry Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA), the media center of NEOM and Ithra (King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture). MBC GROUP, the largest media company in the Middle East and North Africa region, will also be present at the pavilion this year.

They are joined by other entities covering several sectors of the media and entertainment industry, including production, distribution, content creation and talent development.

A delegation of up-and-coming Saudi film talents shaping Saudi film culture will also travel to Cannes to showcase the best of the burgeoning film scene. They will present their work at the Short Film Corner, a successful accompaniment to the Festival organized by the Marché du Film and designed to give a new generation of filmmakers a platform on the world stage.

Abdullah Al Eyaf, CEO of the Saudi Film Commission, said: “We are delighted to return to the Cannes Film Festival to connect with the international film industry to raise awareness of what is happening in our thriving creative sector and to showcase the country as a truly unique and exciting film destination.

“The Festival is the perfect platform to champion emerging talent who will showcase their work on the big screen to the global film industry. These are exciting times for Saudi Arabia, and Cannes presents us with a crucial opportunity to maximize opportunities as we drive the industry’s rapid growth.

The Saudi Film Commission will also present the State of Arabia Conference at the Marché du Film with Saudi producer and director Aymen Khoja, Egyptian producer Mohammed Hefzy and Tunisian director Lotfy Nathan.

Nathan made his feature film debut with “Harka”, winner of the RSIFF Red Sea Souk Award and screened as part of the Festivals Certain Regard section.

The panel will explore the future of Arab cinema and discuss the opportunities and challenges that need to be addressed in order to build a robust industry that will elevate Arab cinema and get the attention it deserves.

Film AlUla will take the stage to showcase the country as a global film hub at the US pavilion, joined by Stephen Strachan, Film AlUla, Abduljalil Alnasser, Managing Director of Industry Development and Investment Attraction at the Saudi Film Commission , Wayne Borg, Managing Director of Media Industries, Entertainment and Culture at NEOM, Zeinab Abu Alsamh, Managing Director of MBC Studios, Matt Rhodes, Producer and President of The Hideaway Entertainment and Christian Mercuri, CEO of Capstone.

The group will discuss international and regional ambitions to become a production powerhouse, huge in-house investment combined with a strong financial incentive offer and a film-friendly ecosystem to support productions in an exciting new destination for filmmakers.

Over the past 18 months, Saudi Arabia has served as the backdrop for three major Hollywood films, Ric Roman Waugh’s action thriller ‘Kandahar’ shot in the extraordinary landscape of AlUla, home to the UNESCO World, Hegra, and Jeddah, Rupert Wyatt’s historical epic “Desert Warrior” was filmed in the stunning new city-state of NEOM and the Tabuk region, and crime drama “Cherry” in Russo Brothers was filmed in AlUla and the capital Riyadh.

Additionally, eight local feature films have been completed in the past 12 months and are set to hit the festival circuit with a slate of documentaries, commercials and local productions including “Norah,” written and directed by Tawfik Alzaidi and “Within Sand,” directed by Moe Alatawi.

Both films received a fund award during the Saudi Film Commission’s Daw’ film competition, an initiative launched by the Saudi Ministry of Culture in September 2019 to support Saudi film production and champion the next generation of filmmakers in establishing a sustainable funding program to bring Saudi content to the screen and to a wider global audience.

Saudi Arabia hosts two film festivals a year, the Saudi Film Festival, now in its 8th edition, has become a crucial springboard for exciting new voices, and the Red Sea International Film Festival which has seen a successful first edition in 2021, presenting 136 films, representing 68 countries in 35 languages, including 28 world premieres with 38% of the program made up of female directors and 27 local features and shorts from exciting new Saudi voices.