Saudi screens second public film in 30 years

'Journey to Mecca' was part-financed by the Saudi-based Al-Zamil family

'Journey to Mecca' was given its first public airing in Jeddah. (AFP/Getty Images)

'Journey to Mecca' was given its first public airing in Jeddah. (AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia has shown its second public film screening since the conservative Gulf kingdom shuttered its cinemas three decades ago.

'Journey to Mecca', which was part funded and produced by the kingdom, was given its local premier at the Jeddah Hilton on Sunday, Variety Arabia magazine reported.

The Bruce Neibaur film was held for the first time under the patronage of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and was attended by male and female guests, separated by a screen.

The production, which was filmed in the Mecca province and includes scenes shot at the Grand Mosque, follows the 14th Century explorer Ibn Battuta as he makes his way from his native Morocco to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage.

The kingdom banned public movie screenings and other types of entertainment to pacify clerics after a terror siege of the Muslim holy site, Mecca, in 1979.

The last film to be screened in Jeddah was Ayman Makram's comedy, Menahi, produced by the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, in 2008. Men sat on the ground floor of the 1,200 seat-conference hall while women sat on a separate balcony.

The project was part financed by the Saudi-based Al-Zamil family. The family, which runs the Al Zamil Group of companies, has an estimated fortune of $2.8bn, according to the Arabian Business Saudi Rich List 2011.

“Premiering the film in Jeddah is of great importance to the film's developers and producers, as it shows there is a market for such magnificent films,” Abdulrahman Al-Zamil said in an interview with Variety Arabia. “From the reaction we have seen tonight, we can see that the audience believes that such films help to spread peace and prosperity.”

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on arabianbusiness.com may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Digital dilemma: the future on advertising

Digital dilemma: the future on advertising

If you’re not advertising online these days, you’re not advertising...

Saudi Arabia's rulers adapt message for social media age

Saudi Arabia's rulers adapt message for social media age

Saudi Arabia's leaders have historically courted public opinion...

Changing channels: what is the future of TV in the Middle East?

Changing channels: what is the future of TV in the Middle East?

It is a relentless argument: has the advent of digital content...

Most Discussed
  • 3
    UAE landlords set to get tougher on rental cheques

    Erm, what real estate recovery are they talking about? Expected by who exactly? One minute rents are dropping now they're rising? I don't think it's a... more

    Tuesday, 28 February 2017 1:23 PM - Mr. Abc
  • 2
    Dubai residents appeal to fix 'roundabout of doom'

    These 2 roundabouts (Arabian Ranches/Motor City & Studio City) are mostly choked and always dangerous, because of Schools, Offices and fast growing Residential... more

    Tuesday, 28 February 2017 1:22 PM - Anon
  • 2
    UAE salaries expected to rise, report says

    Nowadays people are struggling to secure a job in market and they are accepting offer which is less from their current package there is no chance of salary... more

    Tuesday, 28 February 2017 1:21 PM - Daljit Singh
sponsoredTracking