Ithra, which is one of the leading supporters of the film industry in Saudi Arabia, is credited with more than 20 films as well as training and other initiatives to take the Kingdom’s film industry to the next level.
Ithra (The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture), one of the largest film producers in Saudi Arabia, has returned to Cannes to discuss the changing landscape of filmmaking in Saudi Arabia and to showcase two of its latest projects. Ithra Film Productions is credited with more than 20 films as well as training and other initiatives to take the Kingdom’s film industry to the next level.
Stationed at the Saudi Pavilion, hosted by the Saudi Film Commission, Ithra explored the development of Saudi filmmaking talent with representatives from NEOM and MBC Academy as part of the 75th edition of the Festival de Cannes.
Ithra Film Production supports Saudi Arabia’s growing film industry by nurturing home-grown talent and fostering cinematic content creation and will present two Ithra-produced films to industry professionals at the Cannes Film Market’s Short Film Corner – Ali Saeed’s ‘Old Phone Number’ and ‘Swing’ directed by Raneem Almohandis.
Ithra encourages the development of original content, evidenced by a robust cinematic output – including three projects nearing completion – while also supporting the industry through funding and commissioning initiatives in addition to presenting the Saudi experience to the world through cinema. Anti-Cinema, Saeed’s documentary feature with Hassan Saeed brings Saudi’s film history to the big screen, it also picked up the Ithra Content Commission Initiative, and is slated for release later this year.
Ithra Film Productions is also releasing two narrative feature films. The first Sea of Sands is being produced by celebrated Egyptian screenwriter and producer Mohamed Hefzy, and the second feature film Valley Road is directed by Saudi award-winning independent filmmaker Khalid Fahad. Both films are slated to be released next year. A prominent upcoming release by Ithra Film Productions will see a new documentary (Iees) by first-time director Abdullah Saharty, with a focus on the cultural significance of the Arabian camel and its impact reshaping the peninsula and its future.
The Center has, to date, produced more than 20 films, of which 15 have received local, regional, and international awards.
“Ithra is committed to advancing the Kingdom’s film industry – both in front of and behind the camera, and we look forward to an insightful conversation on this topic,” 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 two new films with the international film industry.”
Ithra is the driving force behind several key programs supporting the Saudi filmmaking scene. It is home to Saudi Film Production, Saudi Film Days, and the Ithra Film Society, which presents a full program throughout the year. Ithra is also the cradle of the annual Saudi Film Festival in partnership with the Cinema Society and with the support of the Film Commission, which expands its footprint this year to include entries from the wider Gulf Cooperation Council for the first time.