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Saudi film days: talented new wavers of film makers

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 The Royal Film Commission is holding two days of Saudi film screening, starting today at Rainbow Theater, showcasing new and distinctive films from Saudi filmmakers and up-and-coming talent.اضافة اعلان

The selected films, aiming at showcasing and celebrating emerging Saudi talent, provide an opportunity for film goers to discover new films and hear directly from the talent behind the camera.

The mostly female filmmakers did not hesitate to explore the different movie genres. Films which will be screened are:


This omnibus film is a collaboration between five Saudi women directors; it focuses on the role and experience of women in society.

Becoming” encompasses five short films by five Saudi women producers and five women writers. It has been presented in different styles, ranging from traditional to novel attempts to get away with it.

All the protagonists in the five short films are women, as are the secondary characters. The man appears only as a passer-by in one of them; he may have his name mentioned, but is absent, or appears in a conversation, but is not seen, is a child, or is just a nickname for one of the heroines.

The five women filmmakers, Sara Mesfer, Fatima Al-Banawi, Jawaher Alamri, Hind Al-Fahhad and Noor Alameer, explore themes of abandonment, neglect, control, abuse and shame in a conservative society. In a captivating portrayal of a harsh reality, these women do not hesitate to carve out their own spaces.

These are films that speak very boldly about the problems facing women in Saudi Arabia and in the Arab world in general, whether social or physical.

Talking about taboos is delicate and difficult, but it is especially so for the output (in the case of Mesfer, Fahhad and Alamri) to go to a sensitive area that is not talked about, and the audacity to put forward these ideas and provoke the viewer to receive such ideas is refreshing.

Five short narrative films, in 70 minutes, will give you a deep look into the changing society of Saudis, into the development, identity, idleness, simply life itself, through the eyes of these talented film makers.

The films in this omnibus project are: “Somayya’s Bride” by Alameer, “Al Dabah” by Mesfer, “Until We See the Light” by Banawi, “The Unforgetting Hand” by Fahhad, “In Malika Refuge” by Amri.

All women heroines, of different ages and material and cultural levels, exhibit, to a different degree, a recalcitrant tendency. They are all independent. Event in all films stand on the brink of change, between two situations; they either start or end in a dramatic way.

The Girls Who Burned the Night

The movie is written and directed by Mesfer, and produced by Alamri.

Two sisters, Salsabeel and Wassan are the protagonist. On the evening of an engagement party in the neighborhood, one of them is forbidden to go to a nearby grocery store. The narrative follows the trajectory of the two sisters who are pushed to discover themselves and each other in order to survive some unexpected and harsh realities.

This film has won a Special Mention Award at Palm Spring International ShortFest in 2021. It also received The Jury Special Mention at Cairo International Film Festival’s 42nd edition and was screened at Beirut International Women Film Festival and at Toronto Arab Film Festival.

Nour Shams, by Faiza Ambah

On the journey of life, Sham, a single mother, works as an Uber driver in the Saudi city of Jeddah. Her only son, Makki wants to participate in a hip-hop competition, which could lead to winning an extended trip to France and separate them for the first time in their lives. Shams is forced to decide which is more important, keeping her son, or finding herself.

The film addresses social problems that have never been brought up in Saudis films, such as marriage with individuals from a different culture and of different citizenship (here to a Yemeni man, which made her an outcast for her parents, and left her son without a Saudi citizenship.)

Nour Shams was screened at several film festivals, including Palm Springs International ShortFest, Tirana International Short Film Festival, Middle East Now Film Festival, El Gouna Film Festival, Asti Film Festival and Red Sea International Film Festival-Saudi Arabia.

Fifty Thousand Photographs, by Abduljalil Al Nasser

 Looking for family pictures, Turki lacks a single image of his father after his family disposed of all his photographs during the burning spree experienced during the 1980s in the kingdom. He visits a photo collector who owns 50,000 photographs of the locals to try to get one.

This film won the Best Short Film prize at the Sharjah International Film Festival.

The Saudi film industry has been growing fast over the past few years. Cinemas in Saudi Arabia are mushrooming. While Saudi productions are growing, with more money being invested in the industry, there efforts to enrich this new market with local content, which opens new doors for more scriptwriters, filmmakers, and producers to take initiatives and strike partnerships with other Arab and international filmmakers.

That means that more Saudi films will be screened in cinemas, giving cinemagoers more options, and a more talented wave of filmmakers will bring their creativity to the Arab and world cinema lovers.

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