Saudi Arabia’s first independent film theatre to launch with Youssef Chahine retrospective

Ahram Online , Thursday 1 Dec 2022

Coinciding with the second edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival (1-10 December), Hayy Cinema, the first independent film theatre in Saudi Arabia, will open in Jeddah with a retrospective on Egyptian director Youssef Chahine.

Hayy Jameel, Jeddah
Hayy Jameel, Jeddah (Photo: courtesy of Art Jameel)


The launch programme will involve screening five films by Chahine that were recently restored and digitised by Misr International Film: Alexandria Why (1978), Alexandria Again and Forever (1989), Adieu Bonaparte (1984), The Sixth Day (1986), Return of The Prodigal Son (1976).

The opening programme is co-developed with the Red Sea International Film Festival. The detailed programming is yet to be revealed. 

Hayy Cinema will also screen Saudi, Arab and international features, shorts and documentaries. According to the organisers, soon the film theatre will also hold its own genre-specific festivals that cater to audiences of all generations.

The Hayy Cinema complex includes a 168-seat theatre, a 30-seat community screening room, a multimedia library, and an educational exhibition space.

The Hayy Cinema opening on 6 December also marks the one-year anniversary of Hayy Jameel, a creative complex managed by Art Jameel, which focuses on art and culture activities. The centre opened on 6 December 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Hayy Jameel is designed by Jeddah-based architectural practice Bricklab, whose design won an international architectural competition run by Art Jameel in 2019. 

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