The 10th annual Saudi Film Festival will take place from May 2-9 featuring 76 film screenings and 53 titles competing for 36 prestigious awards.

This year's festival celebrates a decade of cinematic innovation and achievement with a special focus on Science Fiction Cinema, said at the King Abdulaziz World Cultural Center (Ithra).

Competition and Awards

As the Saudi Film Festival (SFF) marks its 10th year, it introduces a refined competition structure designed to enhance the competitive spirit among participants.

This year, 53 meticulously selected films -- encompassing long, short, and documentary formats -- have been nominated by the festival’s technical committee to compete for a total of 36 prestigious awards.

The competition spans three major categories: Film Competition, Unexecuted Screenplay Competition, and Production Market Projects Competition.

Highlighting its commitment to environmental and artistic achievements, the newly introduced Golden Palm Awards will recognise the best Saudi documentary about the environment and a runner-up in the animated short film category.

Engagement and Professional Development Beyond the cinematic showcases, SFF enriches the experience with an array of professional development opportunities. The festival offers ten targeted training workshops, including specialized sessions for production market participants and courses on developing both short and long film scenarios.

Additionally, a symposium and 13 masterclasses will cover a broad spectrum of cinematic subjects, fostering a deeper

understanding and enhanced skills among film professionals.

A Decade of Cinematic Progress

Reflecting on its decade-long journey, the Saudi Film Festival has seen 1,444 films participate, over 2000 unexecuted screenplays, and the launch of 289 production market projects. This impressive track has significantly propelled the growth of Saudi Arabia’s film industry. To celebrate this rich history, the Festival Museum will display memorabilia and milestones from past festivals. Attendees can also explore the Cinema Society’s “Saudi Encyclopedia of Cinema,” featuring 20 volumes covering all facets of film, and participate in book

signing events.

Additionally, a dynamic children’s program will be available, offering interactive experiences, meet-and-greets with Saudi film stars, and tours of Ithra’s expensive facilities.

Honouring Cinematic Pioneers

This year, SFF continues its tradition of honouring the luminaries of the film industry. Celebrated Saudi artist Abdul Mohsen Al-Nimr will be recognised for his extensive contributions to cinema in the Gulf. His acclaimed works, including “The Sun” (1990), “Shadows of Silence” (2006), “Thobe The Wedding” (2016), “Long Road” (2022), and “Hajjan” (2023), have left indelible marks on the industry. Al-Nimr's recent achievements with Ithra Film Production at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival, where “Hajjan” won Best Feature, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography, underscore his ongoing impact. 

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