Saudi Arabia to host first European Film Festival
The best of European cinema will be showcased at a new film festival in Riyadh.
Running from Wednesday until June 22 at The Esplanade, the inaugural European Film Festival will feature 14 films from countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Finland.
Some of the key films to be screened include the acclaimed 2019 French romcom Les Parfums, starring Gregory Montel and Emmanuelle Devos, and the 2016 comedy Welcome to Germany, a box office sensation in Germany that grossed more than $20 million.

French director Gregory Magne and Cypriot filmmaker Marios Piperides will also be on hand to discuss their respective films, Les Parfums and Smuggling Hendrix, after the screenings.

The event also boasts a selection of industry discussions targeted towards aspiring filmmakers and producers.

Alberto Battocchi, the film commissioner of the Italian city Trentino, will discuss best environmental practices when it comes to moviemaking.

Italian screenwriter Giacomo Mazzariol will break down some of the finer aspects of the craft, while US entertainment lawyer Matti Rockenbauch will shed light on the legal elements of filmmaking.

Organised by the Delegation of the European Union in Riyadh and film distribution company Arabia Pictures Group, the festival aims to expose Saudi film enthusiasts to the diversity of European cinema, in addition to acting as a form of cultural exchange between the continent and the kingdom.

“As the EU, we are keen to add to the vibrant cultural scene of Saudi Arabia, facilitating cultural exchange and introducing European culture while also fostering contacts between Europeans and Saudis to enhance mutual understanding,” said Patrick Simonnet, EU Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

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Indonesian actress Ara Winda Kirana receives her Best Actress award for her role in the film ‘Yuni’. Photo: Red Sea International Film Festival / AFP

Arabian Pictures chief executive Roua Al Madani said the festival aims to further develop the promising Saudi film industry. “This event is a milestone within the kingdom and a bridge between Europe and the rising film industry in Saudi Arabia.”

More information about the festival, including session times and tickets, is available from the official website.