CANNES: At a special VIP breakfast on the sidelines of the 71st Cannes Film Festival on Friday, Ahmad Al-Maziad, CEO of the General Culture Authority, announced that Saudi Arabia is “open for business” to the global film industry, with a number of initiatives to promote locations and develop talent, from funding to scholarships. Al-Maziad announced a rebate program of at least 35 per cent for foreign productions filming in Saudi Arabia.

“We’re developing guidelines on how to get even higher than 35 per cent. That will be for all spend used and consumed in Saudi Arabia,” said Maziad at a press conference held at the Carlton Hotel.

In addition, Maziad announced that the General Culture Authority will be “funding 50 per cent of all money spent on Saudi talent.” This offer, which will apply to Saudis employed on productions in the Kingdom, will also be offered as a rebate, and is designed to incentivize using local crews, which will help develop Saudi Arabia’s domestic talent pool. “We believe the combination of the two make us the most attractive incentive program in the world,” said Maziad.

“This extends from film to documentaries, animation, scripted programs and much more. Putting a handsome rebate on local talent is about developing the local talent in Saudi.

We believe that the more local talent used with global film crews will help them develop faster. We’re welcoming the best in the world to come shoot in Saudi, which will expedite the use of local talent beyond what we have today.” According to Maziad, the rebate program will drive greater visibility of the country as Saudi Arabian locations are featured in films and TV programs, which will in turn further attract international productions and impact the country’s developing tourism sector. Read more from…

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