The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) announced its participation at the second Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, now ongoing. Ithra Film Productions’ Valley Road by award-winning Saudi director Khalid Fahad will be the closing film at the festival. Two other projects, the Ithra-supported shorts A Swing and Old Phone Number are also being screened at the festival, alongside the premiere of the Ithra Content Initiative film King’s Poem. Furthermore, the cultural center’s Creative Solutions program will showcase its inaugural projects at the festival’s virtual reality section.
One of the largest film producers in the Kingdom, Ithra Film Productions supports Saudi Arabia’s growing film industry by nurturing home-grown talent and fostering cinematic content creation, in addition to presenting the Saudi experience to the world through cinema.
“Ithra is committed to advancing the Kingdom’s film industry – both in front of and behind the camera,” said Majed Z. Samman, Head of Performing Arts & Cinema at Ithra. “We provide a purposeful and technological space for the Kingdom’s film talent to hone their skills and show their work, and we are eager to share our latest projects with the international film industry.”
Valley Road, Fahad’s debut feature film, follows the odyssey of Ali, a young boy with selective mutism who gets lost on the way to see a doctor in a nearby village. He finds himself alone in the middle of nowhere, where he needs to overcome a series of challenges. The film features TV star Mohammed El Shehri, singer and influencer Aseel Omran, star of stage and screen Naif Khalaf Althaqeel, and 10-year-old Hamad Farhan in his first acting role. The film is the first Saudi production to secure a G-rating.
Valley Road, boasts an exclusive Pan-Arab cast and crew, represents the renaissance of the Kingdom’s film industry, which PwC forecasts to grow to $1.5 billion by 2030. The Saudi Arabian Government has also announced a series of plans aimed at establishing Saudi Arabia as a world-class film hub and among the top 20 film industries globally within the next few years.
This year’s Red Sea International Film Festival features a focus on Virtual Reality content, and Ithra will showcase the top five prototypes from the first year of Ithra’s Creative Solutions program, aimed at boosting KSA’s creative economy by empowering digital content creation in immersive technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, immersive audio, haptics, and more. The year-round initiative is designed to enrich, educate and inspire creative individuals to develop digital immersive content, and connects the participants with global professionals and investors to promote and nurture new and innovative products. Applications for the third year opens on February 1, 2023.
Ithra Film Productions has produced more than 20 films, of which 15 have received local, regional and international awards. Ithra is also the driving force behind several key programs supporting the Saudi filmmaking scene. It is home to Saudi Film Days and the Ithra Film Society, which present a full program throughout the year. Ithra is also the cradle of the annual Saudi Film Festival.
For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit www.ithra.com.