Saudi Films on Display in Los Angeles for Second Annual Young Saudi Film Festival

Six films from Saudi Arabia will headline the second annual Young Saudi Film Festival in Los Angeles this week, as the Kingdom looks to expand its entertainment offerings back home.

The festival, run by the New York Film Academy (NYFA), will also showcase two films from Egypt. The eight short films range from five to 20 minutes in length, and cover a wide range of genres, from comedies to dramas and family-friendly screenplays, according to Arab News.

Film is set for a renaissance in Saudi Arabia as theaters open this year.

Film is set for a renaissance in Saudi Arabia as theaters open this year.

Saudi Arabia recently lifted a 35-year old ban on cinemas in the Kingdom, paving the way for Saudis to return to the theaters this year and for Saudi filmmakers to more freely pursue their films at home.

The lifting of the cinema ban created a flood of interest from foreign cinema firms, including most recently the signing of a multi-million dollar deal with Vue International.

Young Saudi Film Festival (YSFF) President and NYFA student Rakan Anneghaimshi highlighted the difficulties young Saudis faced attempting to break into the film industry. “Last year Saudi filmmakers didn’t have any theaters where they could show their films and creative productions. With hope and consistent effort, cinema is now back again in Saudi Arabia,” according to Arab News.

“Our goal since Abdul Aziz Al-Mutari and I started YSFF was to have a platform to link filmmakers to each other so they can exchange experiences, knowledge, and connections,” he said. “It’s going to be the same case this year. We had an impressive variety of films submitted from around the world, and we congratulate all the filmmakers. It was very challenging for our selection committee to choose only eight films.”