The Delegation of the European Union and Arabia Pictures Group are launching the first ever European Film Festival in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 12 June 2022
Between 15 to 22 June, Riyadh will welcome 14 films from different European countries
Among the side-events taking place during this first edition, filmmakers Gregory Magne (Les Parfums), Marios Piperides (Smuggling Hendrix) and screenwriter Giacomo Mazzariol (My Brother Chases Dinosaurs) will meet the audiences and run an open conversation with filmmakers and film enthusiasts.
– The Delegation of the European Union in Riyadh, in cooperation with the Embassies of the EU Member States and the Arabia Pictures Group, announces today the 1st ever European Film Festival taking place in Saudi Arabia. The Festival will run from 15-22 June and entail a screening of 14 European films from different European countries. These include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Spain and Sweden. The projected films include “Little Joe” by Jessica Hausner, “Campeones” by Javier Fesser and “I am Greta” by Nathan Grossman.
H.E. Mr. Patrick Simonnet, EU Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, commented: “We are very happy to host the 1st ever European Film Festival in Saudi Arabia. As the EU, we are keen to add to the vibrant cultural scene of Saudi Arabia, facilitating cultural exchange and introducing European culture while also fostering contacts between Europeans and Saudis to enhance mutual understanding. We also thank our partners in this endeavor, especially Arabia Pictures, VOX Cinema and the Saudi Film Commission.”
Roua Almadani, CEO of Arabia Pictures (APG), commented that: “This event is a milestone within the Kingdom and a bridge between Europe and the rising film industry in Saudi Arabia. We would like to thank the delegation of the European Union for collaborating with us, the Saudi Film Commission for its support and our esteemed partners, especially VOX Cinema.”
Aimed at facilitating cultural exchange and promoting European cinema, the Festival will also foster contacts between the European and Saudi filmmakers through the organisation of dedicated side-events. Among the guests will be film directors Gregory Magne and Marios Piperides, from France and Cyprus respectively. Other events include Alberto Battocchi, Film Commissioner of Trentino, raising awareness on environmental practices around movie-making; Giacomo Mazzariol, the screenwriter of the Italian film “My Brother Chases Dinosaurs” and Matti Rockenbauch who will discuss with the Saud film community legal aspects of filmmaking.
All screenings will take place at the VOX Cinema The Esplanade who is also co-sponsoring the event alongside Alliance Française, Goethe Institut and the Embassy of Italy to Saudi Arabia. The event has also benefited from the support of the Saudi Film Commission.
“Film not only has the ability to entertain but also provides audiences with a window into other cultures. VOX Cinemas is proud to sponsor the inaugural European Film Festival in Riyadh, which celebrates the transformative power of cinema,” said Mohamed Al Hashemi, Country Head, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment, Cinemas & Lifestyle.
Tickets to all film screenings will be sold at 35 SAR. For further information about the Festival’s schedule and for purchasing tickets, please visit: https://arabiapictures.sa/EuroFest
The synopsis of the films, schedule of side-events and biographies of the participating guests are attached.
About the European Union Delegation
The Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain opened in Riyadh in 2004. The EU Delegation is also representing the EU vis-à-vis the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). The EU Delegation works on many areas of cooperation between EU and Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain as well as the GCC, including political dialogue, economic and trade issues, regional security, education as well as climate change and transition to green energy/economy.
Read more about us on the EU Delegation’s website / Twitter: @EUintheGCC / Instagram: @EUinKSA / Facebook: @EUinKSA / EU Ambassador’s Twitter: @eusimonpa
About Arabia Pictures Group
Arabia Pictures Group is a multifaceted media and entertainment company based in Saudi Arabia. With a young team of creatives, APG is dedicated to Film Production, Distribution, Training, Events Management and Advertising. Embracing the local culture at its core, APG aims to keep nurturing talent, supporting film appreciation, building a vibrant film industry, creating original and enthralling multi-platform content, and generating a sustainable business within the realm of entertainment. Looking to establish international partnerships, Arabia Pictures aims to be a global player to keep pushing forward and together the creatives.
About Arabia Pictures Group
Arabia Pictures Group is a multifaceted media and entertainment company based in Saudi Arabia. With a young team of creatives, APG is dedicated to Film Production, Distribution, Training, Events Management and Advertising. Embracing the local culture at its core, APG aims to keep nurturing talent, supporting film appreciation, building a vibrant film industry, creating original and enthralling multi-platform content, and generating a sustainable business within the realm of entertainment.
Looking to establish international partnerships, Arabia Pictures aims to be a global player to keep pushing forward and together the creatives.
Below are the the side-events schedule, the Speakers’ Biographies and the Film Synopsis
Thursday, 16 June
In Conversation with Gregory Magne on filmmaking
Grégory Magne grew up in Burgundy, France. In 2007, he left to cross the Atlantic alone from La Rochelle to Salvador de Bahia. He embarks with a camera to tell his daily life and shoots his first film, Vingt-quatre heures par jour de mer. He has since navigated between documentaries and fictions, between scripts and directing, between TV and Cinema. In 2012, he wrote and directed with Stéphane Viard his first feature film, L’Air de Rien, a dark comedy in which Michel Delpech embodies a Michel Delpech riddled with debts. The film reveals Grégory Montel in his first first-role. Perfumes is his second feature film.
Time: 7 pm
Saturday, 18 June
In conversation with Matti Rockenbauch on Legal Aspects in Filmmaking
Matti Rockenbauch LL.M. (Michigan), is an entertainment lawyer based in Berlin working at VON HAVE FEY, one of Germany’s leading entertainment law firms. He is specialized in all matters of film and TV production, with a deep understanding of the development, financing and production of films and series for cinema, TV and streaming providers.
Matti advises German, Saudi and international clients – such as producers, distributors, screen writers, directors, actors and other talents – supporting them in contract drafting, negotiations, regulatory issues and general business and legal affairs.
Time: 7 pm
Sunday, 19 June
In conversation with Mario Piperides on producing
Marios Piperides was born in 1975 in Nicosia, Cyprus. After studying Film Production in the US, he returned to Cyprus in 2002. As the audiovisual sector is small in Cyprus, Piperides had the opportunity to gain experience in every aspect of filmmaking. In 2005 he founded his production company, amp Filmworks and produced and co-produced award winning titles. As a writer/director he has made a documentary and two short films. The main theme in his work is the ongoing division of Cyprus and their need to overcome their own prejudices. Smuggling Hendrix is Piperides’ first feature.
Time: 7 pm
Monday, 20 June
In Conversation with Alberto Battocchi about Green Film initiative
After a degree in Psychology and a PhD in Cognitive Science,he worked as a researcher in Human-Computer Interaction. In 2011 He left the academic environment to pursue his passion for cinema. After a filmmaking course at the London Film Academy, he worked as assistant director in various national and international film productions and then he collaborated with the Trentino Film Commission with tasks of assistance to audiovisual productions and launch the Green Cinema. In Trentino Sviluppo from 2020, working with the Film
Time: 7 pm
COLD CASE HAMMARSKJOLD
Danish director Mads Brügger and Swedish private investigator Göran Bjorkdahl are trying to solve the mysterious death of Dag Hammarskjöld. As their investigation closes in, they discover a crime with even farther reaching consequences.
Synopsis: Panayiota, a 37-year-old illiterate housewife, leads a quiet life with her husband and their children in a modest neighborhood in Athens, Greece. To cope with the recession that has been affecting her family for some time, Panayiota for the first time in her life, finds a job as a cleaner in a shopping mall. Despite the ruthlessness of her work-environment, Panayiota breaks free from domestic monotony and gradually gains the respect she never had from her family. When a series of layoffs starts, she will have to face her personal dead ends. But Panayiota cannot be the same anymore.
Synopsis: Anne Walberg is a master in perfumes. She creates fragrances and sells her incredible gift to many companies. She is a diva, selfish and temperamental. Guillaume is her new driver and the only one who dares facing her. This is probably why she does not fire him
Synopsis: A basketball coach works with a team of mentally disabled players as part of his community service.
I AM GRETA
Synopsis: In August of 2018, Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old student in Sweden starts a school strike for the climate. Her question for adults: if you don’t care about her future on earth, why should she care about her future in school? Within months, her strike evolves into a global movement. Greta, a quiet Swedish girl on the autism spectrum is now a world famous activist. The team behind I Am Greta has been following the young activist from her very first day of school strike.
Synopsis: Yiannis, a faded musician who is about to leave Cyprus for a better life abroad, sees his plans turned upside down when his dog runs away and crosses the Buffer Zone that separates the “Greek South” from the “Turkish North”. Can he smuggle him back in?
TUULTE TAHUTUD MAA
Synopsis: A visually enchanting documentary that takes the audience on a thoughtful journey in Estonia’s unique, vast and wondrous nature. A visually enchanting documentary that takes the audience on a thoughtful journey in Estonia’s unique, vast and wondrous nature.
WELCOME TO GERMANY
Synopsis: A well-off Munich family offers boarding to a refugee. Diallo from Nigeria soon makes friends among the family members, but they are tested when they have to face racism, bureaucracy and terror suspicions because of him.
Synopsis: A documentary film journey into the life and work of one of the greatest modern architects Alvar Aalto. The film shares for the first time the intimate love story of Alvar and his architect wife Aino Aalto. It takes the viewer on a cinematic tour to their creative processes and iconic buildings all over the world. We visit their library in Russia, a student dormitory at MIT, an art collector´s private house near Paris – and many other unique places.
Synopsis: A genetically engineered plant scatters its seeds and seems to cause uncanny changes on living creatures. The afflicted appear strange, as if they were replaced – especially for those, who are close to them. Or is it all just imagination?
Synopsis: A poor Maltese fisherman faces temptation to sell his wooden fishing boat and join a black-market operation that’s decimating the Mediterranean fish population and the livelihoods of local families.
NEVER GONNA SNOW AGAIN
Synopsis: A masseur from the East enters the lives of the rich residents of a bland, walled off community. Despite their wealth, the residents emit an inner sadness, a longing. The mysterious newcomer’s hands heal, his eyes seem to penetrate their souls. To them, his Russian accent sounds like a song from the past, a memory of their seemingly safer childhood. Zhenia, for this is his name, changes their lives.
KING OF THE BELGIANS
Synopsis: The Belgian king and his entourage become stranded when the French speaking half of the country declares independence.
MY BROTHER CHASES DINOSAURS
Synopsis: Jack has always wanted a little brother to play with, and when Gio is born, his parents tell him his brother is a “special” child. That’s when Gio turns into a superhero with amazing powers in his big brother’s imagination, like the ones in his comic books. Over time, however, Jack learns the truth: his brother has Down syndrome, a condition Jack decides to keep secret. When he goes to high school and falls in love with Arianna, he hides Gio’s very existence from her and his new friends. But how can you expect someone to love you if you conceal such an important part of yourself? In no time, the truth comes out, and Jack realizes that Gio’s energy and vitality are contagious. Gio’s original outlook does indeed change the world, just like a superhero.