Recognition with Emerging Location Award and Film Commission Award in worldwide competition is a signal of success for fast-growing Saudi screen sector

Cannes, France – 22 May 2024: Film AlUla, the Royal Commission for AlUla’s (RCU) film agency, has received the Emerging Location Award and Film Commission Award at the Global Production Awards tonight in Cannes.
Charlene Deleon-Jones, Executive Director, Film AlUla said: “Less than five years ago, Film AlUla was established to develop a vibrant film industry, while diversifying the local economy, providing opportunities for local filmmakers and fostering global collaboration. Since then, we have been dedicated to building the infrastructure, policies, and teams that will transform the lives of a generation of filmmakers and filmgoers alike.
“AlUla, known as the ‘Living Museum’ with 7,000 years of history, offers a breathtaking landscape for the creative community. Combined with the warmth and enthusiasm of its people, it has the potential to become a central hub for international filmmaking. This recognition at Cannes is an achievement and reflects the incredible efforts of our teams and the support of leadership at both local and national levels.”
The Global Production Awards honour the production and location work required to get great films and shows to the screen. At the core of the awards are initiatives, projects and work that are setting the highest standards in sustainability, diversity and ensuring local economies benefit from the productions taking place in their markets.
The awards cap a triumphant Cannes Film Festival for Film AlUla as it helps lead the Saudi screen sector in taking a prominent place on the world stage.
Earlier in the day, Film AlUla gathered industry players for the screening of excerpts from short films by the four inaugural winners of the AlUla Creates Film Programme, which supports Saudi female directors. The winners underwent an intensive mentoring programme that transformed their short-film ideas into festival-ready projects
On May 23, the film Norah, shot entirely on location in AlUla with an all-Saudi cast, will become the first Saudi feature to appear as part of the official selection at Cannes in the 77-year history of the festival. Norah has secured international distribution rights.
As a key player in the development of the film industry in Saudi Arabia since 2020, Film AlUla has hosted 700+ production-days. Recent projects include season three of the cryptocurrency drama Paper Empire starring Denise Richards and Kelsey Grammer, the music video for The Monolith by world-renowned DJ David Guetta, feature film Siwar from Saudi director and producer Osama Alkhurayji, award-winning director Shahad Ameen latest venture Hijra and Netflix reality series Dubai Bling and Soy Georgina. Eight-time Grammy-winning artist Anderson .Paak’s directorial debut K-POPS! will begin filming in AlUla later this month.
Earlier shoots include the action movie Kandahar starring Gerard Butler, the Russo brothers drama Cherry starring Tom Holland, and Norah.
To accommodate the growing demand from producers, Film AlUla is building world-class infrastructure. Phase One is complete, featuring two 26,000 sq ft soundstages, 15,400 sq ft workshops for each stage, a production building with hair and makeup rooms, and the Film AlUla Residence with 300 fully furnished units. A recording studio is to open in June 2024.