Saudi Arabia made its debut into the horror movie genre on Tuesday with the screening of “Hidden Evil” at the fifth Asian Consuls General Club Film Festival in Jeddah.
The movie, directed by Saudi filmmaker Dr. Fahad Ghazoli, was also featured at the Dubai Film Festival in January.
“When we initially thought of the idea of making a horror film, we realized it would be the first attempt in Saudi Arabia as well as in the Gulf area generally. We showed our film in the Dubai Film Festival and we won a number of awards there and they did ask me: ‘why a horror film?' I said that we want to stand out at something - we see drama and we see comedy, let’s try a horror film.”
The cinema industry in the Kingdom is moderated due to significant amount of censorship in art and media, and cinemas and theatres are completely banned, leaving Saudi film fans little choice but to travel to neighboring countries to watch movies.
There has been a recent emergence of young Saudi filmmakers and actor Jamil al-Ali is optimistic about the developments in Saudi cinema.
The 11-day festival closed yesterday with the screening of the Indonesian film “Under the Protection of the Ka’aba”. Films from Philippines, Bangladesh, and Korea were also screened at the festival.
Dr. Fahad Ghazoli - Saudi filmmaker