Along with the already brilliant line up of gems from the Region which were announced earlier, Malmö Arab Film Festival just announced a selection of Saudi cinema as the country is to be the guest of honour for the 12th edition of the festival -- which this year will take place from 4-9 May 2022. The programme will be the first of its kind around the world, aiming to shed light on the different aspects of the young and promising film industry in Saudi Arabia.
The programme will include the screening of five feature films and seven short films that reflect the most prominent trends in modern Saudi cinema, as well as a panel discussion entitled “Introduction to the Saudi Film Commission”, and a photo exhibition from around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is in addition to the regular participation of Saudi films and filmmakers in the festival's official competitions and juries, and the “Bridge of Talents” programme, which is a workshop targeting young talents in Saudi.
The guest of honour programme will conclude with an artistic night and a special performance by the local school orchestra Oud Huset where all festival guests, filmmakers from the Arab world and the Nordic countries participating in this year's MAFF will be invited.
The founder and president of the MAFF Mouhamad Keblawi said: "Over the past months, we have worked extensively with the Saudi Film Commission to come up with this unique program. If MAFF is proud of being the largest festival dedicated to Arab cinema outside the Arab world, then celebrating the tangible achievements of Saudi cinema must come out in the best possible way, in a programme through which we present Saudi cinema to the audience of Sweden and the Nordic countries, and we build bridges of communication between filmmakers in the Saudi Arabia. and their peers on the other side of the world.”
Saudi cinema has really taken off since the Kingdom started reopening theatres in 2018. Along with the long lasting Saudi Film Festival, which this year will take place in June at ITHRA in the Eastern Province, Saudi also kicked off a new film festival, the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah, which took place in December of 2021 and was deemed by all a success.
The CEO of the Saudi Film Commission, Abdullah Al Eyyaf Al-Qahtani, said this about the guest of honour programme: “Our presence today at Malmö Arab Film Festival 2022 is a continuation of the presence of Saudi cinema on international platforms, in an effort to build partnerships that contribute to the journey of building this sector. International film festivals also represent a space to highlight Saudi talents and attract international talents in the field of filmmaking, especially after the great leap in the filmmaking environment in the Kingdom through a governmental system that supports and stimulates the industry, and a great geographical diversity that provides a diverse production variety.”
Following is the full list of Saudi films screened in the guest of honour programme:
40 Years and One Night by Mohammed Alholayyil
The Journey by Kôbun Shizuno (A Japanese, Saudi Co-Production)
Route Ten by Omar Naim
The Sun of Gnosis by Faris Godus
The Tambour of Retribution by Adbulaziz Al Shelahi
Little Bird by Khalid Fahad
Nour Shams by Faizah Ambah (Pictured in the header, a Saudi, British Co-Production)
The Palm Witch by Hala Alhaid (A Saudi, American Co-Production)
Saef by Wejdan Al-Marzouq
Senses by Khalid Zaidan
Sun 89 by Mansour Albadran
Zawal by Mujtaba Saeed (A Saudi, German, French Co-production)
The above are in addition to the previously announced Saudi films in competition which include:
Feature Film Competition
Junoon by Maan B. and Yasser B.
Short Film Competition
Diyar Hisma by Fahd Fayz
Whisper Down the Lane by Raghad Albarqi
Quareer by Norah Almowald, Ragheed AlNahdi, Ruba Khafagy, Noor ELamir, Fatimah Alhazmi
To find out more about MAFF, the largest and most famous Arab film festival in Europe and the only one in the Scandinavian countries, visit their website.