Americans need to understand the Middle East
How much do we really know?

At The Media Line, we value all points of view and aim to mend our differences through fact-based narrative-inclusive journalism Help support our bold and brave team in Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel, Palestinian Territories, the UAE, and beyond.
Help us continue our work and provide access to the news that matters to you.

Thank you and best wishes to you and yours for this Jewish New Year.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President
The Saudi Film Industry
India has done it. Bollywood actresses Nithya Menen (left), Kirti Kulhari (center) and Taapsee Pannu attend the trailer launch of the upcoming Hindi drama film ‘Mission Mangal' in Mumbai on July 18. (Sujit Jaiswal/AFP/Getty Images)

The Saudi Film Industry

Al-Anba, Kuwait, July 18

Last week, the Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh devoted its main editorial to a somewhat unusual topic: the importance of the film industry. Cinema, according to the editorial, is not just meant to present events – fictional or nonfictional – on the screen, but has also become an important tool for the projection of soft power and for economic development. That is, more and more countries today invest in projecting their cultures and unique identities through the establishment of a local film industry or by partnering with film production companies around the world. The deep and accelerating transformations unfolding in Saudi Arabia, which have been set forth in the kingdom’s unique Vision 2030 [plan], are finally beginning to manifest themselves in other realms of Saudi society, including cinema arts. It is expected that the kingdom will open its doors to the film industry, which has attracted the attention of many countries, including superpowers such as China. Beijing has already reached out to government officials in Riyadh with the hope of partnering with Saudi Arabia on joint film ventures that would be filmed in the country. This is certainly not a novel idea, but most states have neglected to invest in their film industries. There are a few notable exceptions. Indian cinema, known as Bollywood, brings in over 14 million viewers a day, and its revenues continue to rise dramatically each year. Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry, serves as the country’s second largest economic sector, helping the sub-Saharan state diversify its national income sources through an innovative avenue. Therefore, film should not be thought of only within the purview of the arts. An investment in cinema is an investment in a country’s economic stability and ability to send a message to viewers around the world. Saudi Arabia is beginning to catch up on this trend, and I have no doubt that other Gulf states will soon follow suit. – Salah Al-Sayer (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.