A short film that is based on extremism has won a top prize at the Saudi Film Festival, revealed organisers on Sunday, in an ultra-conservative kingdom that continues to ban public cinemas.
“Departures”, directed by Abdulaziz al-Shalahei, won the golden palm award at the fourth edition of the festival, which featured 58 homegrown films including 12 directed by women.
“The festival is growing as the level of films is improving,” its director Ahmed al-Mulla said, adding that several contenders this year addressed extremism.
The film “Departures” features a conversation on a plane between an extremist thinking of blowing himself up, and a terminally ill man who is tempted to commit suicide.
Saudi-based Syrian actor Mohammed al-Qass, who plays the role of the sick man, also won the prize for best actor.
The festival, included four competitions for fiction films, documentaries, student productions, and un-produced scripts.
The film festival was held in a large marquee in Dhahran, in Eastern Province, as public cinemas do not exist in the Islamic kingdom.
“We hope that we will have cinemas soon,” Mulla said.