The Saudi Film Sector opens up to international collaboration with Cannes appearance 

Saudi Pavilion at Cannes spotlights the best of the Kingdom's Film Sector to industry peers

  • The Saudi Film Commission spearheads fastest growing cinema sector in the Middle East
  • Saudi film sector expected to be worth $1.2bn by 2030.            

The Saudi Film Commission is celebrating the remarkable emergence of cinematography and filmmaking in the Kingdom through its exhibition at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, between the 6 – 17 July.

The cinema industry in Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing in the Middle East – both in the production and consumption of films and streaming programming. The dynamism of the sector is creating a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity for international filmmakers, producers and creatives who wish to collaborate with or create content for the Saudi film market – which is expected to be worth $1.2bn by 2030.

On the opening day of the Cannes Saudi Pavilion, Abdullah AlQhatani, the Film Commission’s CEO said: “We are thrilled to be showcasing the best of the Saudi film sector at the Cannes Film Festival. Cannes is one of the highlights of the industry’s calendar and we are looking forward to meeting our counterparts and building mutually beneficial partnerships. Right now, there is a huge opportunity for investment into the sector, with spectacular landscapes for filming and an emerging, enthusiastic talent pool complemented by a fast-developing film infrastructure. We have seen huge growth in the sector in just a few short years, and we are confident it will continue to grow exponentially.”

Figures released during the 2020 META Cinema Forum exhibitors’ conference showed Saudi Arabia as the region’s top-grossing territory, with more than $73 million movie ticket sales made during the previous year – a feat made all the more impressive in a difficult year for cinema due to the pandemic.

Opportunities in the sector are already being recognized by international titans. Netflix recently announced a five-year partnership with a Saudi digital media studio, Telfaz11 to produce eight feature films, alongside homegrown Saudi films performing well on its streaming platform with The Perfect Candidate, Scales, and Masameer.

With over half of Saudi’s media revenue coming from at-home entertainment, there is huge market potential for streaming and online content producers. An incredible 95-percent of Saudi internet users watch videos online (2019) and video on demand has been growing at a staggering rate of >27% per annum over the last five years.

The Film Commission is developing the sector by embedding a regulatory framework, driving investment into the sector, developing Saudi talent, building international partnerships and events, and positioning the Kingdom as a world class filming destination.

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a cultural transformation as part of Vision 2030, which is diversifying the economy. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture, the cultural sector is set to contribute more than $23bn to the Saudi economy and 100,000 jobs over the next decade.


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About the Saudi Pavilion:

  • The Saudi Film Commission is hosting the Saudi Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival.
  • The Pavilion will host the Saudi Ministry of Investment, Red Sea International Film Festival, NEOM, Film AlUla, MBC Group, Ithra, Nebras Films, Telfaz11, CineWaves Films and Arabian Pictures.
  • There are a range of events in the Pavilion including Meet the Saudi Film Industry on 8 July 2021 and Meet the Producers on 9 July 2021.
  • The Pavilion can be found at Pavilion 120, Village International Riviera. 

About the Film Commission: 

  • The Film Commission, one of the Ministry of Culture’s 11 sector-specific commissions, oversees the Kingdom’s evolving film sector, supporting established and aspiring film professionals, and identifying and promoting local Saudi talent.
  • The Film Commission launched in 2020 to drive the growth of a thriving production ecosystem to address the increase in domestic and international demand.
  • Supported by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategic framework, the Ministry of Culture is leading a cultural transformation to develop a rich ecosystem that nurtures creativity, unlocks the economic potential of the sector, and unleashes new and inspiring forms of expression.
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