The 2nd European Film Festival
Waqar Naseem Wamiq, Riyadh – The 2nd European Film Festival begins in Riyadh with a star-studded blue carpet reception & opening ceremony held at the prestigious VOX cinema of Riyadh Front.
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of the Ambassador of the European Union to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia H. E. Patrick Simonnet, President of the Saudi Film Authority Eng. Abdullah Al Ayaf, Chairman of the Arabia Pictures Abdulelah Al Ahmary, International Actress Zübeyde Bulut, Famous Chef Bobby Chinn, and many others.
In his opening remarks, The EU Ambassador Patrick Simonnet said, “Tonight we celebrate our friendship between Europe and Saudi Arabia. As the EU, we are keen to be part of the growing cultural scene in the Kingdom. People-to-people engagement remains an important pillar of EU’s Strategic Partnership with the Gulf”.
“European cinema is known for its simple, artistic, ironic, and metaphorical storytelling. The characters and stories you find in European cinema are nuanced, with their own strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams. it was the Europeans who pioneered the motion picture industry, with several innovative engineers and artists making an impact”, he added.
Ambassador Patrick Simonnet thanked Arabia Pictures, VOX Cinemas, and the Saudi Film Commission for their support and commitment to making this event a success. He also expressed his gratitude to co-sponsors: Embassies of France, the Netherlands, and Portugal as well as the Camões Institute, Alliance Française, Goethe Institute, Embassies of the EU Member States, and the EU Delegation team. He concluded, Let the films begin!
Speaking on the occasion Abdulelah Al Ahmary, Chairman of Arabia Pictures said that he is proud of the continuation of the European Film Festival. It’s an important step in enriching the film industry in the Kingdom by communicating with different schools of the industry around the world and benefiting from them, stressing that Saudi cinema has great potential to qualify for a distinguished position globally in the near future.
Stella Scherer, Cultural Attache at the German Embassy, spoke of her happiness that the opening film of the festival is a German film, and thanked the festival management for presenting the German movie at the opening ceremony.
Actress Zubaida Bulut of the opening film “Sister Apart” showed her gratitude and happiness at screening the film at the festival and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, hoping that the film’s message would reach the audience.
The ceremony was presented by the artist, Samar Shasha, and a large number of prominent personalities in the film industry and prominent stars from Saudi Arabia and abroad attended the ceremony, including Reem Al-Ali, Muhammad Al-Shehri, Asim Al-Awwad, Muhammad Hefzy, Fahd Al-Otaibi, Yassin Ghazzawi, Eman Bakr Younes, Ahmed Baaqil, and Saleh. Al-Fawzan, along with a group of ambassadors of the European Union.
The Festival will offer a rich selection of European movies which will be running daily in the Sahara Mall branch of Vox Cinemas from the 7th to the 14th of June.
Besides film screenings, the Festival is having some side events bringing together European film professionals and their Saudi peers – from Portugal, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, and France.
Waqar Naseem Wamiq is a Riyadh-based journalist and chief editor of RX.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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