The Khaleeji cinema industry needs to have its own identity.
In an interview with Digital Studio Saudi filmmaker Shahad Ameen said: “The biggest problem we have, at least in Saudi Arabia, is that we suffer from an identity crisis. In a way it’s a pan-Arab problem. A filmmaker cannot have an identity crisis, we need to be clear and honest about who we are. The biggest challenge we will have in the coming years is creating an identity.”
This region can take inspiration from Persian cinema which carved out a distinct identity according to Ameen.
“We have to work on a cinema which is purely Arabic. We have some of the greatest story tellers in the world based in this region. The Quran is filled with beautifully told stories, we have to draw from our history to tell our story through film. That’s where our identity will come from,” she added.
With the opening of cinemas in Saudi Arabia, a change is on the cards.
“An action film that works in Hollywood will not work in Saudi Arabia. We have to be proud of who we are, accepting the negative and positive aspects that comes with being an Arab. Egypt is one of those places that had a clearly defined identity and then lost it. Let’s re-establish it,” she said.