Saudi Arabia establishes film council

Saudi Arabia establishes film council
Published: 22 March 2018 - 7:56 a.m.
By: Pranav Vadehra

Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Culture (GAC) has announced the creation of Saudi Film Council to help develop the Kingdom’s cultural sector.

Variety reported that the authority is expected to launch the body internationally at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. Areas of activity will include “talent development programs, a regulatory framework, production infrastructure, funding solutions, and initiatives to promote the kingdom’s overall brand and culture.”

The authority’s executive chairman, Ahmed bin Fahd Al-Mazeed, said that the launching of the council is a first step in supporting the film and creative content sector in the Kingdom as one of the five main sectors supported by GAC. He said the authority is determined to support cultural talents and the cultural diversity in the Kingdom.

Throughout 2018, it will “pioneer multiple initiatives to lay a solid foundation for industry growth,” including streamlined filming processes and support services, a National Fund for Saudi filmmakers, and year-round training programmes and skills workshops for talent development, both in the Kingdom and internationally.

Saudi Arabian authorities have moved rapidly to lay the groundwork for the future industry ever since the opening of cinemas was announced late last year. A regulatory body for film has already been setup and the government has commenced the issuing of licenses to operate theatres with several international companies already announcing plans for entering the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is taking a $400 million stake in Endeavor, one of Hollywood’s biggest talent and event managers, as part of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s grand plan to diversify the kingdom’s oil-based economy, according to people with knowledge of the deal.

The purchase is the latest in a series of deals by the Public Investment Fund and is scheduled to close as soon as March 19, a day before Crown Prince bin Salman and US President Donald Trump meet at the White House, said the people, who asked not to be identified because some of the details are still private.

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