Imax will also explore the establishment of a film-technology lab to train and work with Saudi filmmakers on Imax-format documentaries and Arabic-language films.
Imax and Saudi Arabias General Culture Authority have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly seek opportunities to identify and develop local Imax-format films.
Under a non-exclusive MOU signed on the sidelines of the Cannes International Film Festival, the GCA and Imax will look for opportunites to help Saudi studios and directors release films with cross-border appeal and eventually tap Imaxs global distribution platform to export their films to non-Arabic markets, as per media reports. Imax has reportedly implemented this approach in markets like China and India, where it re-masters and distributes local-language blockbusters both in-country and to its wider global network.
Earlier this year, Imax opened its first commercial multiplex theater together with VOX Cinemas in Riyadh. The company expects to build 15-20 theaters in Saudi over the coming years.
Imax will also explore the establishment of a film-technology lab to train and work with Saudi filmmakers on Imax-format documentaries and Arabic-language films that showcase the Kingdoms geography, culture and heritage, as well as the filmmakers themselves.
In the meantime, at the busy Saudi Arabia pavilion at Cannes, two of Saudi Arabias leading filmmakers, Haifaa Al-Mansour and Abdullah Al-Eyaf, appeared on a panel in the Saudi pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, where the topic of debate became whether the country needs an international film festival.
Panelist Andres Gomez, an Oscar-winning Spanish producer, reportedly said Saudi talents would benefit more if Saudi films travel outside to other festivals abroad compared to having a festival in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi filmmakers Haifaa Al Mansour and Abdullah Al-Eyaf made the point that that the Kingdom should have an international film festival that goes beyond the small Saudi Film Festival run in Dammam since 2008.
As part of the debut Saudi presence at the international festival, nine short films by young Saudi directors were screeed in the Short Film Corner, including Is Sumiyati Going to Hell? by Meshal Aljaser, about a maid working for racist employers, and Alkaif by Seba Alluqmani, about the countrys coffee tradition.
The Kingdoms newly established Saudi Film Council launched its grand pavilion at the Cannes Marché du Film. Booklets were reportedly being handed out to festivalgoers showcasing the Kingdoms growing population of consumers, and filming location