On the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival, the Saudi Cultural Fund signed a preliminary agreement with the Middle East Financial Investment Company (MEFIC) and Roaa Media Ventures to establish the first investment fund in the film sector, worth SAR 375 million (approximately $100 million).
The Cultural Fund will contribute 40% of the amount through a SAR 300 million investment program launched during the Cannes Festival, as part of the IGNITE government digital content program’s film sector financing initiative.
In late 2017, Saudi Arabia lifted a decades-long ban on cinema construction in the country. The country hopes to exceed annual box office revenues of one billion dollars, increase local production to 70 films per year, and reach 350 cinemas with 2,500 screens by 2030, with an expected contribution of the industry of about $24 billion to the economy and the addition of more than 30,000 permanent jobs.
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Film sector budget
The new fund aims to invest in film sector companies and projects or provide the necessary financing, build a network of entrepreneurs and distribution experts to support companies, while managing investment portfolio risks in the sector, according to the CEO of the Cultural Fund, Mohammed bin Dayel, in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
The fund also looks forward to collaborating with local and international investors and attracting foreign expertise to turn the Kingdom into a major film-making center, according to the statement.
The budget allocated to the Saudi film sector financing initiative, amounting to SAR 879 million, is the highest among all artistic and cultural initiatives in the Kingdom. 30% of it has been allocated to the establishment of companies and facilities supporting the film sector, while the remaining 70% will be directed towards developing, producing, and distributing film content.
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