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How Film AlUla Helped Rising Saudi Filmmakers Craft Festival-Ready Short Films

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Jack Dunn In 2023, Saudi Arabian film agency Film AlUla formed AlUla Creates, a local initiative that provides funding, mentorship and networking opportunities for Saudi filmmakers and fashion designers.

And in just one year, AlUla Creates has exploded into a global brand, already hosting 123 international productions in the scenic valleys of AlUla, Saudi Arabia. “We call it a living museum,” said marketing director at Film AlUla Mahsa Motamedi. “It’s absolutely beautiful.” As part of the Variety Global Conversations Summit at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, Variety‘s Italy and Middle East correspondent Nick Vivarelli sat down with Motamedi, director Maram Taibah and sister filmmakers Raneem and Dana Almohandes to discuss the impact of AlUla Creates on the Saudi Arabian film industry.

Taibah is one of the many young filmmakers who found support from AlUla Creates. After her sister sent her an Instagram ad for the program, she knew immediately she wanted to join. “It coincided with a time when I was planting the seed for my film ‘Malika.’ I had a very preliminary idea of what kind of story I wanted to tell.

But I didn’t have the idea exactly in my head.” said Taibah. “But the fun thing was that when I was applying and I had to write a treatment for the film, that’s when the story went like, ‘Aha, here I am,’ and I got in.

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