Saudi Film Nights – A One-night Mini Film Festival

Saudi Film Nights – A One-night Mini Film Festival

The inaugural Saudi Film Nights is being launched in Melbourne and Sydney by the Saudi Film Commission who, in partnership with local company Blacksand Pictures, will be bringing the crème de la crème Saudi film stars and filmmakers to our shores.

The purpose of this one-night event is for these Saudi filmmakers to display their works and to meet, with the possibility of working in Australia, our very own talented filmmakers.

The Saudi Film Industry is quite a small one with few feature films and documentaries being produced every year.

All theatres were closed in the 1980’s in Saudi Arabia owing to religious activism and there was reportedly only one theatre in existence between 1983 and 2018. The platforms for watching motion pictures during those years were through video, DVD and satellite.

However, times have changed and cinemas are now operational. All movies screened, whether foreign or produced locally, are ‘put under the microscope’ by the Saudi Censorship.

A different movie and short film will be screened in Melbourne and Sydney and talent from these productions will be in attendance to present their works.

Saudi Film Nights reflects the Commission’s commitment to promoting the kingdom’s film culture, highlighting Saudi films on an international stage. We are also fostering collaboration between international film communities, including the Australian film industry, to exchange expertise and knowledge,” said Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Qahtani, CEO of the Saudi Film Commission.

Sydney audiences can watch a coming-of-age drama called Hajjan which premiered in 2023 at the Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by multi-award-winning Egyptian-Austrian Abu Bakr Shawky, the story follows a young boy who may possibly loose his camel in high-stakes camel racing. Producer Majed Z. Samman and actor Ibrahim Al-Hasawi will be in attendance.

For readers who would like to watch this movie in the comfort of their own loungeroom it’s now available for viewing on SBS on Demand.

Me & Aydarous is a short film directed by Sara Balghonaim and highlights the clashes between traditional and modern standards. A woman in the early 2000’s sneaks off on a date and ultimately has a falling out with her chaperoning chauffeur. Actress Ida Alkusay will be in attendance.

This one-night event in Sydney will be presented in the Playhouse Theatre at the iconic Opera House. There will be a red carpet and reception at 5:15pm followed by an official introduction and screening of Me & Aydarous and Hajjan at 6:15pm. An insightful filmmaker Q&A at 9:20pm concludes the event.

This is a free event and open to  filmmakers and media.

June 26. Playhouse Theatre, Opera House. Bennelong Point. 

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