Looking at Saudi Arabia’s film scene today, it’s hard to imagine that it was just a year ago that the kingdom lifted its 30-year-long cinema ban. Cinemas have cropped up on every block, with a total of 45 planned to be constructed by 2020, and Haifaa Al Mansour’s Oscar-nominated film ‘The Perfect Candidate’ was shot entirely in Saudi.
Adding to the burgeoning film scene is the fact that the kingdom is about to open the doors to its first independent cinema.
The establishment will be a central component of Hayy:Creative Hub, a 17,000-square-metre space for the arts, which is due to open in Jeddah next year.
The 200-seat cinema will house a community screening room as well as an audio-visual library (complete with archive viewing rooms), inspired by the communities and landscapes of Jeddah.
“Hayy: Cinema is the first bespoke home for Saudi and international independent film in the kingdom” says Antonia Carver, Art Jameel’s director, in a statement, “its unique design, thanks to Bricklab, allows for not only film screenings, but also for skills development, education and community engagement.”
With Bricklab being one of the country’s leading design studios, their involvement is no surprise. “We are excited to contribute to this momentous project. This will surely reshape the cultural landscape of the city of Jeddah and Saudi as a whole,” said founders Abdulrahman and Turki Gazzaz.