How to watch the Saudi Film Festival, starting today

The festival celebrates the best of local talent…

Not even a global pandemic could stop the Saudi Film Festival (SFF) from taking place this year. The event starting today, Tuesday, September 1, 2020 will be the sixth incarnation of the festival, and although it will be a very different affair (the films will be streamed over YouTube), it has the potential to be the biggest yet.

Set up to showcase and highlight local talent, the six-day event provides a deserving platform for Middle Eastern screenwriters, producers, actors, directors and technical teams.

It’s a joint venture between the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran (Ithra) and Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, and also enjoys support from the Saudi Film Commission.

Those wanting to catch the action can watch it on the festival’s YouTube channel, as well as Ithra’s social media platforms.

Our host, presenter, guide, and interviewer-in-chief is Saudi actor, Abdul Majeed Al-Kinani, who will introduce films, lead discussion sessions and ask those all-important questions.

The festival begins with an opening ceremony at 6pm, followed by select showings. At 8pm there’s a love discussion on the future of filmmaking in the Kingdom.

Films taking part in the festival include Husam Al-Sayed’s And When Do I Sleep?; Breath by Razan Al-Sagheer; Abdul Aziz Al-Sarhan’s The Red Circle; Coexistence by Haya Al-Suhail; and The Village by Mohammed Al-Hamadi.

In all, 54 films have been selected for SFF, all of which will be watched, weighed and scrutinised by the judging panel, comprised of 12 international industry luminaries.

Prize categories include ‘Best Feature film’, ‘Best Documentary’, ‘Best Student Movie’, and ‘Best Short Scenario’.

The top prize of the ceremony is reserved for the winner of the best film award, who will receive a purse of SAR40,000. With a further SAR10,000 going to the creator of the top audience-voted flick.

With a bright future ahead for the Saudi film industry, it made sense for the SFF to cultivate its younger talent with expert-led workshops on subjects such as the creation of soundtracks, writing, and directing.

September 1 to 6, find all the scheduling info and viewing links at saudifilmfestival.org

Images: Saudi Film Festival