12-08-21 Events

Art & Culture

Cannes Festival: A look back at Saudi Arabia’s fortnight

The Cannes Film Festival came to an end a couple of weeks ago and left the world with stars, rhinestones, and glitter in its eyes. And on the Film Market, the professional section of the fortnight located on the Riviera in a space called the International Village, Saudi Arabia has been particularly proactive.

It was one of the three largest pavilions in the Village, and undoubtedly one of the busiest. Three years after their very first participation in the festival, the dedicated space set up on two floors by the Saudi Film Council -the organization in charge of supporting the development of the Saudi film industry– welcomed film professionals from all horizons with the aim of discovering Saudi talents on the one hand, and promoting the use of the territory in the 7th art on the other. 

Immersive experiences and exchange of ideas

To achieve this, various means were used, such as the numerous round tables and other discussion groups organized in this place around themes related to the sector, which brought together personalities (directors, producers, etc.) related to the film industry. 

The Saudi pavilion was among the biggest of the festival.

Visitors also had the opportunity to experience a virtual reality simulation, which immersed filmmakers and potential investors in an immersive 360-degree view of the various Saudi destinations that could host film shoots.

A territory to develop

And there are many destinations. In total, no less than 13 provinces and 1,300 Saudi islands have been highlighted, with the jewel in the crown being the AlUla region, a huge desert enclave with lunar landscapes, located in the northwest of the kingdom. This region has already been the scene of the shooting of a major Hollywood film, since it was there that “Cherry”, by the brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, was shot, a drama in which Tom Holland plays an Iraq war veteran addicted to opioids.

In addition to this very pragmatic work initiated to promote the development of the industry in the Kingdom, the artistic dimension was also very present. In total, some 228 minutes of Saudi short films were shown during the various screenings organized by the delegation. The young talents of the Saudi 7th art were thus placed at the center of the project and brought to exchange with many of their counterparts from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. 

This is a very important initiative if we consider that cinema plays a very important role in the perception of a society. In addition to the fact that the daily life and rich culture of the Kingdom’s inhabitants are still somewhat unknown on a global scale, which the 7th art can help remedy, it is also a fantastic medium of expression in a society in full mutation. 

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