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MAKKAH: The Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud Islamic University intends to launch the first bachelor’s degree in film and theater at a Saudi university next year.
Prince Saad bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud, dean of the College of Media and Communication, said the decision was exceptional because of its direct impact on the film and theater industry, and was in line with customs and to Saudi culture.
Prince Saad told Arab News that IMSIU’s College of Media and Communication is one of the largest colleges in the Kingdom, and the latest to launch new media departments and offer new specializations in the domain. A few years ago, the college launched the Advertising Marketing Department, the Graphics and Multimedia Department, in addition to the traditional departments such as Journalism, Radio and Television, and Public Relations.
The film and theater degree was the most recent program to be launched, he said, which spoke about the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision on quality of life, the importance of entertainment and the arts and investment in these.
Prince Saad said that, based on the latest statistics, Saudi Arabia was among the top 15 countries in the world to earn cinema revenue and the first in the Middle East to earn cinema profits. He described the cinema market in the Kingdom as promising and very important for achieving economic goals – it is expected to generate billions of Saudi riyals in profits and create thousands of employment opportunities for Saudi men and women.
This huge market was incompatible with the academic measures and infrastructure of Saudi universities, which is why the College of Media and Communication stepped up to institutionalize this important academic and economic field.
“We have acted in this regard to teach, qualify and graduate qualified executives to work in these jobs with specialized national qualifications in this raw field,” he said.
Prince Saad said the most important Saudi, Arab and international experts have been hired in the establishment process. One of the most important referees of this program is Andres Vicente Gomez, a Spanish film producer behind many international films, including “Born a King”. Prince Saad added that the program was structured and prepared according to the most modern study plans and that the best Saudi academics would work there, noting that some of them had studied cinema in the most prestigious American and European universities. , and presented their films. at Hollywood.
“We are a country of culture open to the world, and we receive American, Arab, Turkish and Korean programs and films that are not compatible with our customs and culture, emphasizing that we have the cultural specificity that distinguishes us from others, which pushed us to shine a light on our vision for a program that handles directing, filming and scriptwriting,” he said.
“This is how we move forward to found a culture of awareness that is consistent with this specificity to produce a Saudi film in the hands of Saudi executives who express us, our culture, our aspirations, our heritage and our identity, and export all of this towards the whole world to serve as a Saudi soft power abroad and use cultural influence.
Prince Saad said some people were allergic to the word ‘cinema’, synonymous with ‘movie’, meaning the live or kinetic image. Instead of receiving materials and films from abroad that were not culturally compatible, this could be replaced with content through which virtues, values, principles and morals were disseminated.
The path of cinema was not at odds with the values of conservatism, he said, but rather protected them and presented them in a model that served the community, pointing out that IMSIU, at its founding, was based on sharia, religious sciences and the Arabic language. , which are disciplines of which “we are proud”. However, people had started to view IMSIU as a prestigious comprehensive university that included all areas of specialization including medicine, science, engineering, public administration, and computer science.
Prince Saad said the film degree at IMSIU would be better than at any other university because its students were better prepared for the ideals, morals and principles of the Islamic religion, and were more in touch with the sciences nuns than other students. Consequently, it better prepared them to serve religion and society, which would contribute to releases that would produce historical and cultural programs and films worthy of the film industry.
“As soon as the college announced the creation of the film and theater department, the first students who wanted to enroll for the next academic year showed up,” he said.
Prince Saad added that he expects a significant positive impact from this industry on “our Saudi heritage and culture”.