The sixth Saudi Film Festival will on Tuesday go live with a 6-day virtual celebration of regionally produced movies.
Bringing together Saudi talents and creatives, the event aims to support emerging filmmakers and promote movie culture in the Kingdom.
Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the annual flick fest will this year see films screened via YouTube, reaching a larger audience.
Following the opening ceremony at 6 p.m., the first day will include selected nominated movies, a symposium on the future of Saudi filmmaking at 8 p.m., and then a second group of showings.
The first batch of films will take in six features, including “And When Do I Sleep?” by Husam Al-Sayed, “Coexistence” by Haya Al-Suhail, “Remember Me” by Mohammed Hammad, and “The Village” by Mohammed Al-Hamadi.
Later in the day there will be five screenings which will include “Breath” by Razan Al-Sagheer, and “The Red Circle” by Abdul Aziz Al-Sarhan.
Nominations fall under the categories of best feature film, documentary, student movie, and unexecuted scenario.
The winner of the best film award will receive a prize of SR40,000 ($10,665), with the runner-up getting SR20,000 and SR10,000 going to the producer of the audience’s favorite movie.
Similar rewards will be handed out for best documentaries and student films, while first place in the best long scenario section will bag SR30,000 and second spot SR20,000, with the best short scenario winner receiving SR15,000 and the runner-up SR10,000.
Applications for the festival closed on Aug. 8 with 384 submissions (105 films and 279 scripts).
Festival organizers have drafted in international filmmakers and directors to help make up this year’s panel of 12 judges who will announce the winners.
In addition to the shortlisted films and awards, several workshops are taking place with a focus on film soundtrack, writing, and directing.
Saudi actor, YouTuber, and critic, Abdul Majeed Al-Kinani, will introduce nominated films, conduct interviews, and host discussions with filmmakers during symposiums.
The festival is being run by the Culture and Arts Association in Dammam in partnership with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran and is supported by the Ministry of Culture’s Film Commission.
Although the festival is virtual this year, Ithra visitors can still watch the shortlisted films at the center’s cinema for free.