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For the First Time in History, Saudi Arabia Will Participate in the Cannes Film Festival

Photographed by Alexi Lubomirski for Vogue Arabia, May 2017.

Less than four months after Saudi authorities announced the opening of public cinemas in the country for the first time in over three decades, The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information has confirmed that the Gulf country is set to take part in the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival for the first time ever this May.

“The kingdom looks forward to its debut presence at the festival, celebrating and supporting the diversity of talent and opportunities within the Saudi film industry,” Awwad Alawwad, Saudi culture minister and chairman of GCA’s board, said in a statement.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Saudi Film Council is set to have its own pavilion at the Cannes Film Market. Nine short films by Saudi filmmakers will be screened at Cannes’ Short Film Corner on May 14 and 15. Though the movies that will be featured at the festival are yet to be revealed, there are a number of highly-acclaimed films to come out of the kingdom recently, including the Oscar-submitted Wadjda (directed by the first female Saudi filmmaker Haifa Al-Mansour) and Mahmoud Sabbagh’s Barakah Meets Barakah, that undoubtedly deserve international recognition.

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