June 5, 2023

Dubai Week

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Women's cinema swallows half of Saudi film festival awards

Women’s cinema swallows half of Saudi film festival awards

It was attended by about 15,000 spectators … and critics of Asharq al-Awsat: Speaking of the maturity of young experiences

The film festival, which saw filmmakers, critics and many more gathered at the Seventh Art Film Festival to say goodbye to art lovers from yesterday evening, was a great recovery for cinematic creativity experienced by Saudi filmmakers for more than eight days. Was interested in the cinema movement, and the “Bottles” film won the competition for the eighth session of the festival, winning four prizes in four different categories in the middle of the competition for 12 prizes.

Women’s issues dominate the themes of many successful films. “Bottles” is known as the Arab metaphor for women from a social perspective and presents the story of five girls who face various challenges, while the Emirati film “A Small Dream” won the Best Gulf Film Award to escape the pressures of conservative society to realize her dream of swimming in the sea. Deals with the story of a woman who tries.

Talking about these two experiences of winning five awards at the festival, equivalent to half the awards, the clear effort of the makers of these two reflected to the viewer the human depth and courageous idea that amazed the critics. Movies that change the stereotypical image of women as the audience converses with applause. Hot, to celebrate the success of this business.

This festival, which is eagerly awaited by Saudi filmmakers every year, reveals the level of cinematic maturity that many participants have achieved, which was confirmed by the jury members who attended the festival, and today Saudi cinema is completely different. This is evident in the past at the festival organized by the Cinema Society in association with the King Abdul Aziz World Cultural Center (ITRA) and with the support of the Film Commission of the Ministry of Culture.

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Cinema diversity

Some may think that the Saudi Film Festival sheds light only on Saudi cinema, but Arab filmmakers, critics, screenwriters, directors and producers, people from different countries and long discussions were able to bring them together. The sidewalks of the festival appeared at the Idra Center in Tehran, from the center of the festival, as a free and spacious place to categorize reality film production.

Ahmed Shawki, an Egyptian critic, said that filmmakers interviewed by Asharq al-Awsad had unanimously agreed that the revival of the Saudi cinema movement would affect neighboring countries and greatly advance Arab cinema. The film festival plans describe the movement of Saudi cinema: “It’s amazing at all levels, which means it’s not limited to government support, it is clearly returning to the state, but also includes the growth and development of the talented. The industry in general.”

When asked about the projects he has served as a judge, he says: ‚ÄúTheir main observation is the great diversity in form and content and their geographical areas. There are films shot in Riyadh, Jeddah and Tabuk. , Al-Ahsa et al. He continues: “It signifies the existence of an active industry and the talents that want to express themselves, and there is no centralization. For example, Egyptian cinema, an industry almost a century old, but throughout. , But what is happening in Saudi Arabia shows the geographical diversity, and each region has its own films, stories and industry.

Arabic cinema

In the presence of this radical Arab cinema, the question arises: how is Arab cinema today? In his interview with Asharq al-Awsat, Egyptian critic Ahmed Shawki said he did not agree with this collective view that cinema in each country would appear separately.

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Egypt has always been active in the film industry, producing at least 40 films each year, divided into commercial films made exclusively for the box office and purely art films made for festival audiences. The audience does not see them on the screen. He continues: “The Arab world jointly produces about 120 films a year, and Arab cinema is permanently represented at all major film festivals.”

Festival results

The Saudi Film Festival management had announced that it had accepted 106 of the 117 films recorded till the end of last March, and 69 films were recommended for screening in the eighth session, which began on June 2. Eight films in the long film category, 28 films in the short film category and 33 films for co-screening were nominated, while Gulf films competed for the “Golden Palm” award with Saudi films competing for the first time.

The production market came to be one of the most important pillars of the festival, which lasted for five days, last Wednesday evening, after 17 different functions including special sessions, open meetings and book signing. The production market included 15 production and support agencies, and received 103 participants, of which 14 scenes were selected, and the market corridors saw the discussion of 35 contracts for film screenings in international forums.

The market also saw the publication of “Cinematic Publications”, the first Saudi magazine to specialize in the film industry.

In terms of numbers, the Saudi Film Festival was able to attract more than 15 spectators at the King Abdulaziz World Cultural Center (ITRA), where theaters were crowded and the corridors of the product market were packed with enthusiasts following. Cultural seminars were held in the theater to discuss the developments in the field and the conditions in the field. Dreams for a brighter cinema future.

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