No movie theatres, but filmmaking a passion for these Saudis

by Peter D. Marshall

from Deccan Herald.

For a country where there are no movie theatres, Saudi Arabia surprisingly has a rising number of independent filmmakers passionate about cinema. And they want to bring about the change in their society.

”There are still no cinema theatres in Saudi Arabia. Everyone loses out. Cinema is an amazing way to preserve and relive history,” Mohammed Sendi, a filmmaker from the Gulf kingdom, told IANS during the Fifth Gulf Film Festival here.

So what motivates him to continue making movies?

”The need to tell stories…and it is a challenge,” he said.

Sendi was one of the 11 directors from Saudi Arabia showcasing their work at the festival that brought together films and filmmakers from across the Gulf region including countries like Iraq, Kuwait, the UAE and Jordan among others.

Hamzah Tarzan, who switched from engineering to filmmaking, says what drives him is ”the passion to make films” even though the situation in Saudi Arabia is ”still the same” as it was decades back when it comes to cinema and the ban on cinema theatres.

But he wasn’t completely deprived of watching movies while growing up thanks to Bollywood. ”Oh I have watched many films…Bollywood films, thanks to VHS tapes back then.’

Read the rest of this article from Deccan Herald.

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