Dubai, May 24, 2022 : Cinema industry leaders and experts came together to discuss and examine Saudi Arabia’s strategy for the US$1.2 billion industry on the first day of the event, Cinema Build KSA, which was held from 24th to 25th May, 2022 at Riyadh, at Hotel Fairmont, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The 4th edition of Cinema Build KSA provided enormous networking and business opportunities to international brands and served as a one-stop-shop for the local cinemas. Being the largest gathering of cinema stakeholders in Saudi, the event aided as a learning center for building world-class cinemas.
Saudi Arabia is on the road to becoming one of the world’s top 20 film industries in the next few years, as per the new strategy that has established the Kingdom “as a world-class film hub with a target to build an industry with a revenue of $500 million,” announced by the country’s Film Commission in November 2021 – which is boosting the country’s entertainment industry.
Since its launch in April 2018, the Saudi Film Commission has licensed 56 theatres with 518 screens in 20 cities, in which 1,144 films were shown, including 22 Saudi films, with the ticket sales amounting to 30,860,956 films in 22 languages from 38 countries.
The Saudi cinema industry with enormous potential is growing rapidly and steadily as it is led by great leadership and industry experts. With a great amount of groundwork done in the past 4 years, the cinema industry in the Kingdom is on its path to becoming the leader in the region and has already gained attention from cinema stakeholders from across the globe.
Mohamed Al Hashemi, Country Head, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment, Cinemas and Lifestyle, said “The opening of the cinema industry in the last four years has laid the foundations for long-term growth and exhibitors have an opportunity to capitalize on this and invigorate the Kingdom’s entertainment sector. Majid Al Futtaim is a strategic partner in the prosperous future of Saudi Arabia and, we are committed to growing a robust and sustainable cinema industry.”
“We firmly believe films were made for the big screen and will continue to expand our footprint and diversify our offering so guests can enjoy the shared and unrivalled experience of watching a movie at the cinema.”
With two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s 35 million population under 30 years of age, cinema in the country looks set to expand further as film and theatre target the young demographic.
Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Minds Event Management, said “This event has tried to guide all the stakeholders in the cinema industry to develop a robust business model catering specifically to KSA’s enthusiastic audiences.”
“This edition of Cinema Build KSA consisted of innovative sessions which highlighted the latest solutions, technologies and key innovations.”
“The event has brought together stakeholders on a single platform to brainstorm the continued development of the industry and identify opportunities going forward. The seminars, workshops, and expert sessions that it hosted gave the right way to go forward.”
More than 20 speakers, 200 industry leaders, 28 sponsors and 10+ cinema exhibitors participated on the first day of the forum. The event hosted all the licensed cinema operators, cinema exhibitors, their architects, designers, consultants, contractors, developers and Mall owners. From the government entities, the chambers of commerce and municipalities, and also many other family business groups, business owners and professionals participated.
The speakers for the event included high profile industry leaders including Mohamed Al Hashemi, Country Head, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment, Cinemas and Lifestyle, John Sullivan, Founding Director, The Big Picture, Alejandro Aguilera Garibay, CEO, Cinepolis Gulf, Mark Harris, Operations Projects Director, Muvi Cinemas, Richard Krent, Director – Development, Qiddiya and many other industry leaders.
The discussion topics for the 4th edition of the Cinema Build KSA included Evolution of cinemas, cinema project financing and investment opportunities, integrating cinema and movie-based entertainment, delivery on time, generating faster revenue, cinema design and construction, making the cinema design more flamboyant, COVID-19 impact on cinema industries worldwide etc.
The conference started with Welcome note by the Conference Chairman, Paul Schwarz, Partner & Principal, Design Confidence – Acoustics, followed by a speech on Evolution of cinemas by Cinepolis KSA, that discussed about a 50-year cinema evolution, customer acceptance boosted through regional customization and many more.
The opening panel discussion was about ‘the type of cinema developers wished to have and why?’, where John Sullivan, Founding Director, The Big Picture Cinema Advisers and Richard Krent, Director – Development, Qiddiya were panelists.
Then, Richard Krent, the Director for development of the Qiddiya entertainment project presented on Integrating cinema and movie-based entertainment into mega development projects, while Klimis D. Mavridis, Projects Director, CINE Construction & Development talked about Delivery on time and give the opportunity to the client to generate faster revenue and reduce ROI time. Followed by a presentation by Ross Horton, Technical & Systems Consultant, Mada Gypsum.
After the networking session, Dr. Marwan Ali Fouad, Proposals Manager, Architecture and Planning Group talked about COVID-19 impact on the design process and delivery of cinema build in KSA and David Wallace, Director – GCC region, Chapman Taylor gave a speech cinema design and construction – the challenges and opportunities in the kingdom.
The second panel discussion, focused on ‘Challenges in design implementation in cinema build projects in the Kingdom’, where Dany Daoud, Chief Executive Officer, DNA, Kerr Logan, Director, Unick Consulting Limited, David Wallace, Director – GCC region, Chapman Taylor, were panelist.
The first day of the forum ended with a closing remark by Paul Schwarz and Networking luncheon with exhibition tour.