Saudi Arabia Film Commission launches plans to establish a world-class film hub

The country has set out a target to build its film sector with a revenue of $500m

By Melissa Kasule 1 Dec 2021

Saudi Arabia Film Commission launches plans to establish a world-class film hub

The Saudi Arabia Film Commission has revealed plans to build a world-class film hub by boosting the industry with a revenue of $500m.

Ahead of Saudi’s debut Red Sea International Film Festival (3-16 December), the film commission has set out a strategy including key pillars and initiatives in its commitments to the film sector.

The strategy will focus on the following six areas:

  • Ensuring a world-class talent pipeline and ensuring homegrown talent can compete with the best;
  • Creating a film sector that can compete in terms of services, offerings and incentives;
  • Boosting domestic film production;
  • Attracting further international production houses;
  • Embedding a regulatory framework that enhances the quick development of the sector;
  • Promoting and distributing Saudi films in regional and international markets.

The six-strategy plan will also be supported by an array of initiatives, including financial incentives for international productions, which will be revealed soon. These incentives are to ensure Saudi Arabia remains a competitive filming destination and attracts local and international filmmakers to shoot on location.

A new Saudi Film Institute will also be launched, dedicated to film production and professional training in cinematic storytelling, and wider creative and technical skills, such as sound engineering and animation. This will be dovetailed by the launch of a national training program for talent development in technical film industry skills including professional certification.

An investment and awareness program to attract local and international film studios, private entities and suppliers will also be put in place in efforts to strengthen the filmmaking value chain. This includes the launch of an online one-stop-shop handling permits, licenses and visas to ensure a faster film production process.

The commission will also establish a National Archive of Films that will deliver the collection, digitization and preservation of historical Saudi films and audiovisual content, including the preservation of equipment used.

Film Commission CEO Abdullah AlQhatani said: “The Saudi film sector has gone from strength to strength with the emergence of the sector providing once-in-a-lifetime business opportunities and partnerships. The strategy provides our roadmap to achieve our aspirations of making Saudi a global hub for film production and talent. The cinema industry in Saudi is one of the fastest growing in the Middle East, which is further evidence that the Saudi film sector is the emerging market to watch.”

This announcement comes as plans are well underway for the new NEOM smart city in the northwest Saudi province of Tabuk, where the US-Arabian action pick Desert Warrior has been filming.

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