Saudi Arabia Set to Make Cannes Debut

Cannes Film Festival 2017 - Getty - H 2018
Samir Hussein/Getty Images

The country's new film entity, the Saudi Film Council, will have a dedicated pavilion, and nine shorts from Saudi filmmakers will be screened.

Saudi Arabia's cinematic revolution continues to quicken pace. 

Less than four months after it lifted a 35-year ban on public cinemas and just nine days before the first movie theater opens in Riyadh, the Middle Eastern country has revealed it will make its Cannes Film Festival debut. 

The Saudi Film Council, launched last month by the General Culture Authority, is set to have its own pavilion at the Marche du Film and will organize several industry panels for networking between delegates and Saudi filmmakers. 

“The kingdom looks forward to its debut presence at the festival, celebrating and supporting the diversity of talent and opportunities within the Saudi film industry,” Awwad Alawwad, Saudi culture minister and chairman of GCA’s board, said in a statement. "Saudi Arabia is embarking on the development of a sustainable and dynamic industry that supports and encourages all stages of a film cycle and offers an incredible range of locations for the world’s filmmakers to discover."

As part of the country's first trip to the Croisette, nine short films by young Saudi filmmakers will screen at Cannes' Short Film Corner on May 14 and May 15.