Saudi director and producer Mohammed Al-Hamoud will participate in the activities of “Rotterdam Lab”, within the “Rotterdam International Film Festival”, which will be held during the period between the first and fifth of next February, after he was selected by the Arab Cinema Center.
Mohamed Al-Hamoud specialized in the production of independent, narrative, and long and short documentaries, noting that his company’s first films were “The Last Visit” by Abdul Mohsen Dabaan, and it is the first Arab film to participate in the “East of the West” competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Al-Hammoud expressed his enthusiasm for his participation in the “Rotterdam Lab” activities, “given the importance of working in the global cinema market,” according to what he said, as he seeks to form logistical relations with producers, distributors, festivals programmers, and film sellers from the European and international market, as well as evaluating the three feature-length film projects. He is working on it and intends to produce it during the next three years.
“4 faces of the storm”
At the beginning of his speech with Al-Sharq, Muhammad Al-Hammoud revealed the details of his first feature-length film that he intends to produce, which bears the name “4 Faces of the Storm”, noting that the aforementioned film is still in the development stage, and Al-Hammoud intends to start filming it at the end of next year.
The film tells the story of the transformation of the environmental and social system and the relationship with others in the beginnings of the economic transformation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the early thirties and before the emergence of oil.
Al-Hammoud explained that the desert of the eastern region in Saudi Arabia will witness the filming of the film, to preserve the originality of the aesthetic story of the work, pointing out that “the role of the main character of the film is supposed to be a resident of the region in which the oil was found, but there is another character of the oil explorer and he is supposed to be an American geologist.”.
He pointed out that there are nominations for American actors commensurate with the age group of the character, but one of them has not yet been settled.
Al-Hammoud said that he is working on developing another movie that belongs to the horror and mystery films called “Janra”, the events of which are based on a Saudi novel that takes place in a village near Riyadh in the seventies.
He added that the third film he is working on developing bears the name “Saifi” by writer and director Wael Abu Mansour, and it is set in Jeddah about a man and a woman who deal with a midlife crisis in unfamiliar and seemingly dangerous ways.
Al-Hammoud confirmed his adherence to writing and directing, saying that he would not completely isolate them, as he considers them as his “outlet”: “I will continue to work in this field, and I have a long film project, directing and writing, which I am working on developing, but in the next two years I will focus on production.”
“Sun of knowledge”
Muhammad Al-Hamoud talked about the size of the Saudi cinema’s competition for American and Egyptian films shown in theaters in his country, saying: “Hollywood films always dominate any film market, as is the popularity of Egyptian cinema in some Arab countries to some extent.”
He revealed that the Saudi film “The Sun of Knowledge” achieved great popularity and sold more than 100,000 tickets, despite the conditions in cinema in light of the Corona crisis. He believed, “This is evidence of the Saudi market’s need for local films.”
He referred to the conditions that hinder the spread of Saudi cinema in Arab countries, explaining that the crisis is not related to a dialect or culture, as there are certain historical, cultural, social, and political conditions that contribute to the spread of cinema in one country without another, citing the spread of Korean cinema in most countries of the world.
Speaking to Al-Sharq, Al-Hammoud praised the cinematic development that the Kingdom is currently witnessing, describing it as a “healthy movement”, especially in light of the existence of independent, non-bureaucratic institutions such as the “Red Sea”, due to its association with long-standing international film institutions and its bold initiatives to support films and the cinematic movement.
He added, “We are still at the beginning of the stage, and I generally do not worry about making good films in Saudi Arabia, as Saudi films have already reached international markets and festivals before the official presentation of cinema in the country. My hope is that this movement will continue for years and generations to come, and this is what we hope for.” Of the existence of private cinema institutions interested in serious cinema. “
The Saudi producer expressed his hope to enter Egyptian cinema during the coming period, especially after he started developing a project with some filmmakers there, saying: “Independent Egyptian cinema has a private world radically different from the prevailing commercial milieu, and there are many names and talents, whether directors, producers or actors. “.
He expressed his admiration for the work of the Egyptian director Ibrahim Al-Batout and his cinematic passion, wishing that one day he would return to filmmaking in the coming period.
San Francisco Arts
Al-Hamoud does not hide that he benefited from studying at the San Francisco Academy of Arts, pointing out that he learned there, “respect for the many professions that work on accomplishing any cinematic project.”
He said, “My own Saudi experience and membership in short films before my studies in the United States, specifically with the Fading Film Group in 2008, was deeper and more sincere, despite its innocence, heinous mistakes, and complete ignorance of the professional standards of filmmaking.”
He explained that passion and self-education were the main drivers of his desire to make films. He concluded by noting that “passion is more important than any factor, and the most prestigious film and university academies will not be able to teach it.”
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