Arts and CultureKSA

Saudi Arabia’s new film financing programme puts the kingdom in the spotlight

Saudi Cultural Development Fund welcomes production companies to the kingdom. 

Lights, camera, Saudi. Saudi Cultural Development Fund has launched the Incentive Programme. The $233 million programme aims to make the kingdom a global destination for film production, and support the local and international film companies that want to participate in the country’s cinema industry. 

Saudi Cultural Development Fund’s Incentive Programme aims to attract emerging and established talent. The initiative was originally announced in 2022, and has now been unveiled. The programme includes up to 40 per cent cash rebate on the production costs, support in licenses and approval, access to a database of professional services. Oh, and access to unique locations in the kingdom.

Saudi Cultural Development Fund

The initiative highlights how Saudi Arabia is keen to become the Hollywood of the Middle East. In 2018, cinemas reopened in the kingdom after a 35-year ban. The first film to be screened was Marvel Comic’s Black Panther

Today, areas like AlUla are ready-made film sets, and have already welcomed film crews from Kandahar starring Gerard Butler to Cherry starring Tom Holland. Plus, Riyadh was the location for the Academy Award nominated Saudi film Wadjda.  

Saudi Cultural Development Fund’s Incentive Programme is open to both Saudi Arabian and international production companies. Government and semi-government companies are not allowed to apply. 

Saudi Cultural Development Fund

In order to qualify for a cash rebate, companies must be registered and licensed in Saudi Arabia, or be part of a co-production agreement with a Saudi Arabian company; obtain a shooting permit in Saudi Arabia; complete the application and approval process; and provide proof of the secured budget. Plus, the minimum spend per project is $200,000 for a feature film, $50,000 for a documentary, and $50,000 for an animation. 

Could this be the start of Saudi’s golden age in cinema? 

GO: Visit for more information. 

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Kohinoor Sahota - Deputy Editor
A sucker for a good story, if you invite Kohinoor to a gallery, comedy night, new restaurant, hiking trip, cycle ride, pool day or just about any activity, she’ll probably say yes – that is if she isn’t busy planning her next adventure.

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