In the latest push to foster an organic movie industry in the kingdom, the Saudi Film Commission has partnered with the MBC Group to hone local talent and create new opportunities for them through grassroot initiatives.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two entities will create training and employment opportunities for Saudi talent in TV shows and films that MBC will produce, while also facilitating their production shoots in the country.
Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has been actively pushing the country’s film industry into the spotlight with the announcement of high-profile partnerships and funds to attract key international players.
At the 2023 Cannes Film Festival in May, Saudi Arabia’s Cultural Development Fund announced two separate grants that would collectively spend $180 million in developing the local film industry, while also fostering an environment that appeals to cash-rich Hollywood production houses.
Separately, the Saudi Film Commission launched Daw last year on the sidelines of the country’s the Red Sea International Film Festival, an initiative aimed at supporting local filmmakers and creating quality local productions. Daw also offers financial grants for Saudi-based production companies looking to produce short films or feature films in the kingdom.
Aside from funding, Saudi Arabia also offers a tax rebate on film shoots, similar to the ones offered by Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which provides up to a 40% cash back incentive for productions that recruit crew and talent from the kingdom, while also promoting the cultural and geographical landscape of the country.
In the recent past, movies such as Gerard Butler’s Kandahar, along with Cherry, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, have been shot in AlUla. NEOM has also proved itself popular with film units, with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan shooting for him upcoming project Dunki at the destination, along with Rupert Wyatt who filmed Desert Warrior there with Anthony Mackie.
(Writing by Bindu Rai, editing by Brinda Darasha)