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RIYADH: The fourth Gulf Cinema Festival, which runs until April 18, is currently taking place in Riyadh.

Organized by the Saudi Film Commission under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the minister of culture and chairman of the commission’s board of directors, the event brings together several pioneers of Gulf cinema.

Dignitaries, cultural and media figures, as well as prominent activists and influencers in the film industry, are also taking part.

The festival’s schedule features film screenings, interviews and workshops, giving visitors the chance to explore the film industry from the perspectives of both makers and critics.

Film Commission CEO Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Qahtani delivered the culture minister’s speech at the start of the event. In it, Prince Badr said: “This edition of the festival represents a crucial milestone in cultural cooperation among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and embodies our leadership’s commitment to enhancing collaboration among us.

“This festival reflects the strong connection between ambition and the cultural strategy of the GCC countries, which play a significant role in enhancing cultural exchange, expanding infrastructure, drawing inspiration from successful experiences, and encouraging Gulf talents to offer more.”

The opening ceremony also featured a film highlighting the depth of Gulf cinema and the festival’s contribution. It is hoped the event will enrich national cinema, providing creative platforms for talented individuals to showcase their work and share their experiences.

A rich and diverse program is planned across the five days, with the screening of 29 films — including feature-length, short films and documentaries — produced by renowned Gulf filmmakers across various categories.

Specialized training workshops will cover topics such as “How to make an impactful documentary film” by Abdulrahman Sandokji, “The relationship between the music composer and the film director” by Mohammad Haddad, and “Art, writing and script development” by Mohammad Hassan Ahmed.

Discussion sessions include “Challenges of producing adapted films,” “Film festivals in Gulf countries,” “Support funds and joint financing,” “Independent films and small budgets” and “The experience of exhibition platforms in the Middle East.”

Gulf filmmakers are also competing for nine awards recognizing various aspects of filmmaking such as directing, photography, music and acting.

The festival aims to promote the growth and development of the regional cinema industry while honoring prominent Gulf cinema figures who have contributed significantly to the global cultural scene. It also fosters cultural and knowledge exchanges among those taking part.

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