Saudi Film Festival returns for its 10th edition, here is what to expect

Saudi Film Festival returns for its 10th edition, here is what to expect

Experience the magic of cinema at the tenth edition of the Saudi Film Festival, celebrating local and international talent at Ithra from May 2 to May 9
02 May 24

The Saudi Film Festival 2024 is set to begin on May 2 and run for one week, until May 9.

An annual celebration of film and cinema, the Saudi Film Festival returns to Dammam, taking place at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) for its tenth edition.

Organised by the Saudi Cinema Association with support from the Film Commission of the Ministry of Culture, and taking place at Ithra, the film festival will once again shine a spotlight on Saudi's literary and cultural contributions to the film industry, as well as highlighting filmmakers and local talent making waves in the Kingdom’s growing cinema sector.

And, here is everything you need to know:

What is the Saudi Film Festival?

Like other film festivals around the world, the Saudi Film Festival is a celebration of the art of cinema. The tenth edition of the film festival will showcase a selection of films, both local and international, from various genres. It serves as a platform for filmmakers, directors and producers to screen their work and gain recognition within the industry, whilst also introducing the audience to new actors too. The film festivals will also provide opportunities for networking, discussions, and appreciation of cinematic artistry, for those both already in the industry, and those with an interest or passion for the art.

When & Where

The Saudi Film Festival 2024 will run from Thursday May 2, for one week, until Thursday May 9 at Ithra. Throughout this week long celebration, a number of screenings, workshops and seminars will take place each day, with a number of different screenings taking place from 2pm - 11pm.

What is Ithra?

A pivotal creative and cultural hub in the Kingdom, Ithra is built on pillars of culture, creativity, community, art, and knowledge. Opened in 2018, Ithra provides a space to encourage and foster local talent, and facilitates cross-cultural exchange through exhibitions, workshops and other events.

What to Expect

This year's event will centre on the theme of Science Fiction Cinema.

Like in previous editions, this year's film festival will maintain its tradition of nurturing local talent and offer a number of workshops, seminars, and exhibits alongside screenings and of course the much-anticipated competition element. The film festival also serves as a platform for creatives to connect and build relationships within Saudi Arabia's growing film industry.

The 2024 edition of the Saudi Film Festival will see the the festival expand its film screening program to encompass a wider array of Arab and international productions.

The Competition

As always, the Saudi Film Festival includes a competitive element, and this year will encompass three major categories: Film Competition, Unexecuted Screenplay Competition, and Production Market Projects Competition.

Fifty-three different films have been chosen by the award's committee to compete across these three main categories, for just 36 awards. These films span various formats, including feature-length, short film, and documentary style formats.

To honour the delicate balance between artistic excellence and environmental consciousness, the film festival has introduced a new competition category - the Golden Palm Awards. This new prize category aims to celebrate and commend films that beautifully showcase the natural environment, and that were filmed in an environmentally friendly way. The newly inaugurated Golden Palm Awards will also celebrate and acknowledge a film in the animated short film category.

Events & Workshops

A number of events, seminars, workshops and screenings will take place throughout the week including 76 different film screenings. Prices for screenings begin at SAR25, and can be purchased online. Book your ticket here.

The film festival will also host 10 training workshops, alongside 13 masterclasses and industry focused seminars.

A number of topics have been chosen for the panel discussions or seminars, including discussion points such as The Relationship Between Indian Cinema and Arab Cinema, Mohammed Malas' Experience in Cinematic Directing, The Art of Poetic Cinema and the festival will also host a discussion on animation, and the use of animation in modern film.

Workshops include experiential based topics such as the production of virtual experiences, and virtual production - a filmmaking method that blends live-action shooting with digital elements instantly. The Virtual Production Experience will show and educate attendees on the use cutting-edge technologies such as real-time rendering engines, motion capture, and LED screens to craft immersive virtual settings where actors can engage during filming.

Click here to view the whole program.

From May 2 - May 9,
Ithra, 8386 Ring Rd, Gharb Al Dhahran, Dhahran 34461