Film

Ithra announces three new Saudi films as well as training scheme

Ithra also announced the opening of registrations for a training programme designed to take Saudi’s film industry to the next level
Ithra announces three new Saudi films as well as training scheme

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) has announced three new films at the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival, including narrative feature films by Egyptian screenwriter and producer Mohamed Hefzy and Saudi award-winning independent filmmaker Khalid Fahad, alongside a feature documentary on the Kingdom’s cinematic heritage.

Alongside the film presentations at the festival, Ithra also announced the opening of registrations for a training programme designed to take Saudi’s film industry to the next level.

Produced under the Ithra Film Productions banner, Mohammed Hefzy will make Sea of Sands (working title) and Khalid Fahad direct Valley Road, with both films scheduled for release in 2023, while the documentary, titled Anti-Cinema directed by Ali Saeed and Hassan Saeed, will bring Saudi Arabia’s film history to the big screen. Winner of the Ithra Content Commission Initiative, it is currently in post-production and is expected be at festivals shortly.

Shooting Valley Road on location

The Center has also opened registrations for Sea of Sands shadowing programme, linked to its strategic commitment to nurture and develop talent across the Kingdom’s creative industries.

“Part of our mandate is to elevate the local talent to a higher standard with international appeal,” said Majed Z. Samman, Head of Performing Arts & Cinema at Ithra and the producer of Sea of Sands and Valley Road. “For the film Sea of Sands we will have an open call for 10 aspiring filmmakers to apply and join the production of the film and learn from well-established filmmakers and crew.”

Majed Z. Samman

Sea of Sands follows young Belal is determined to become a racer following the death of his brother on the track in order to honour his brother’s legacy and gain a measure of revenge on the jockey and racing team he deems responsible for his death.

Meanwhile, Valley Road follows the story of Ali, an autistic young man who gets lost on the way to see a doctor in a nearby village. Ali finds himself alone in the middle of nowhere, where a series of obstacles and challenges cannot stop him from discovering the world ahead of him.

The plan is that these two films build on Ithra’s first commissioned film, the ambitious project Joud, described as an “ancient poem for modern times”, which uses an experimental story structure derived from a pre-Islamic form of poetry, the “Qasida”. The dialogue-free film was shot in 16 locations across Saudi Arabia and screened at several international film festivals.

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