Saudi Government has given green signals to the cinema houses in Saudi Arabia after an agreement has been taken in place among four ministries namely Ministry of Interior, SCTA, GCAM and Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (HAIA). Now it has been confirmed that Cinema Industry is going to start again in Saudi Arabia. Saudi government banned cinema industry in 1980 in Saudi Arabia. All the cinemas operating at that time were closed.
There are currently no regulations that ban the establishment of cinemas in the Kingdom, and obtaining permits to establish them takes no more than 48 to 72 hours, said Fahd Al-Tamimi of the Saudi Arabia Producers and Distributers Association. Ministry of Labor has also updated its website providing details of the procedure to register cinema and obtain its license in Saudi Arabia.
Ministry of Labor has also allowed the investors who are undergoing the process of taking license and registration of cinema to recruit labor and other staff members for their work. Following the announcement by the government, it is also expected that some companies will launch the professional courses in the film industry for which experts from other Arab countries, Hollywood and sub-continent will also come to train residents of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is not barren in producing their own actors and directors. Rotana has made two movies in the past. Saudi female director Haifa Al-Mansour made “Wadjda,” the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director. Wadjda won numerous awards at film festivals around the world and was the first Saudi film to be submitted for the Best Foreign Language Oscar category.
Considering the limited entertainment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, many residents consider this very hopeful news. Saudi authorities can censor a movie before it is being played in Saudi cinemas to stop vulgarity but still, you will be having something to do on weekends. I personally consider it a very good step of this government. I spend the whole weekend in the house and go to some restaurant in the evening followed by shopping in some malls of Saudi Arabia with my wife. Occasionally you plan some visits to the beach with some friends. This is the routine of every weekend. I know many friends who live in Dammam and Khobar and they go to Bahrain on the weekends just to watch a movie or two.