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Saudi Arabia Culture

The Big Time fund will be used to support pan-Arab cinema and production facilities have already been developed at AlUla

Saudi Arabia sets up Big Time film investment fund

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority has set up the Big Time investment fund to support pan-Arab cinema, in Riyadh’s latest push to develop soft power through sports and culture. The authority’s head Turki Alalshikh said during a visit to Cairo that the entertainment authority would act as the Big Time fund’s main sponsor along with […]

A market in the historic district of Al Balad in Jeddah. Developer Jeddah Central is planning an opera house, an oceanarium and a sports stadium

Jeddah Central signs contracts for major landmarks

Jeddah Central, the developer of one of Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects, signed four construction contracts this week for a set of major landmarks. According to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Jeddah Central’s CEO Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Saleem signed the contracts to construct a sports stadium, an oceanarium, an opera house and infrastructure work in the Red […]

People are still watching full-size TVs rather than streaming programmes on their phone

Saudi TV fights off the smartphone challenge

Smart television is holding up as the main platform for accessing sports, news and entertainment in Saudi Arabia, despite the boom in streaming services that can be watched on smartphones, a leading media researcher said this week.   “In the past decade there was a lot of transformation in Saudi. New devices, behaviours and trends,” said […]

Lionel Messi, Antonela Roccuzzo and their sons on holiday. His latest Saudi Tourism promo video has been posted on Instagram Video length: 01:02

Saudi tourism scores big with Lionel Messi video

Global Google searches for “Saudi tourism” shot up at the weekend after tourism bosses in the kingdom released a new promotional video starring footballer Lionel Messi. The campaign, which is being launched in markets including Europe, India and China, focuses on overturning common misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. The video has been watched by 50 million […]

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - DECEMBER 02: Greg Silverman, Charlene Deleon-Jones and Jessika Borsiczky pose in the portrait studio during the Red Sea International Film Festival 2023 on December 02, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for The Red Sea International Film Festival)

Coming to a movie theatre near you … AlUla

It would make the perfect setting for Star Wars or Indiana Jones, but AlUla is developing production facilities that will expand its reach beyond sci-fi and desert adventure movies, making it one of the region’s prime locations for international shoots.  The tourist location in northwest Saudi Arabia is fast developing into a mini-city with an […]

Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan will represent her country at the 2024 Venice Biennale

Saudi art blooms with the kingdom’s transformation

The arts have undergone profound changes in Saudi Arabia over the past decade as the country has enacted wide-ranging reforms, according to a leading Saudi artist.  Once silenced by religious forces and a conservative culture, female artists in particular have come to the fore through a raft of government and private sector initiatives to encourage […]

U.S. actress Gwyneth Paltrow talks during an ‘In Conversation’ session at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on December 6th, 2023, as part of the 3rd edition of Red Sea Film Festival. Photo by Balkis Press/ABACAPRESS.COM

Gwyneth Paltrow slides door on films to focus on Goop

Gwyneth Paltrow has all but closed the door on her acting career, giving her more time to focus on her wellness brand Goop and to explore new countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Oscar winner told an audience at the Red Sea International Film Festival.  “For the foreseeable future I’m at Goop. I have a […]

Man watching tv and eating popcorn at home on a couch, back view

In the streaming age, the TV stays on after Ramadan

YouTube creators and streaming services are changing the face of television all over the world – but particularly in Arab countries, according to executives who attended the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah this month. The entertainment industry in the Middle East traditionally focused on the fasting month, when TV shows could find a captive […]

A seller in Jeddah's fish market, where freshly caught fish are sold at 100 stalls from 5am every day

Think Jeddah, think fish

For generations of pilgrims travelling to Mecca and Medina, the thriving port city of Jeddah on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast is known as the gateway to the two Holy Mosques.  With protein and nutrition comes strength and in the harsh conditions of Arabia it’s the fittest and strongest who thrive. No wonder then that […]

Shoppers in Beverly Hills. Development head Jerry Inzerillo plans to create Riyadh's own version of the high-end district in Diriyah

Diriyah giga-project promises Beverly Hills in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia plans to make its Diriyah heritage district the “Beverly Hills of Riyadh” by 2028 in time for the World Expo 2030 to be held in the city, the giga-project’s CEO said this week.  Jerry Inzerillo, head of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, said these plans include the construction of a 1.9km road like […]

Faris Godus (right) with brother Sohayb and actress Najm, the stars of his film Fever Dream

Modern Saudi gets its close-up at Jeddah film festival

The new Saudi Arabia seen on screen at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah is barely recognisable from the country where religious mores prevented the mingling of unrelated men and women, and suspicions of foreigners cast a long shadow.  Among the stories being told at this month’s festival are those of a young […]