Best known to Western audiences for his work on the Tunisian/French/Belgian 1999 film Les Siestes Grenadine (pictured above), Saleh Al-Fawzan is a renowned cinematographer who has been a prominent figure in the Arab film industry since 1986. Born in Riyadh in February 1956 and an immigrant since 1986, he worked as a producer of Egyptian cinema from 1986 to 1997. During this period, he produced 34 feature films through Shamel Productions, a company he founded in the mid-1980s for artistic production and distribution in Saudi Arabia, based in Riyadh, with branches in the western, eastern, and southern areas of KSA. Hundreds of Egyptian, American, and Indian films were distributed during his management of the company between 1986 and 1997.
Al-Fawzan's impressive career in the film industry continued after he studied dramatic construction and scriptwriting in two courses in 1996 and 1997 in Brussels, Belgium. From 1998 to 2001, he spent his full time in Beirut, Lebanon, studying film directing. He worked as a visiting lecturer at several universities between 2007 and 2009. He won more than 30 Arab and international awards, most notably the North Award for Supporting Southern Films presented by the French Film Center as a "screenwriter" and the Medal of Honor Award at Nantes in 2000.
He founded the Fawzan Film Foundation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1998 in an attempt to produce Saudi cinema, and the first project slated is Years of Mercy, which has not been filmed to date. Saleh Al-Fawzan will be honored at this year's Saudi Film Festival for his achievements in Arab cinema.
Amin Saleh, who will also be honored at this year's event, held within Ithra and the Park Hyatt Hotel in Dammam, Eastern Province, was born in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 1950 and is a writer, screenwriter, playwright, literary critic, poet, novelist, and translator. Saleh began his literary career in 1973, when he published his first collection of short stories, 'Here is the Rose', followed by his second collection, 'Butterflies'. Saleh is considered one of the first translators in Bahrain, having translated many world literary and cinematic works into Arabic, including 'Destructive Cinema' by Amos Vogel and 'Sculpting in Time' by the legendary Tarkovsky. Additionally, some of his own stories have been translated into foreign languages. He has written about twenty screenplays for television series and seven screenplays for dramatic films. His film The Barrier is considered the first feature-length narrative film in Bahrain. In 2007, he was honored with the Order of Merit, First Class, from His Majesty the King of Bahrain. In 2008, he was selected as the head of the jury for the first edition of the Saudi Film Festival.
Saleh is a member of the Writers and Authors Society in Bahrain, a member of Awal Theatre, and a member of the Bahrain Cinema Club.
It is worth noting that the 9th edition of the Saudi Film Festival is organized by the Cinema Society, in strategic partnership with the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), and with the support of the Film Commission at the Ministry of Culture.
All images used with permission.