Could Oman be the next Hollywood of the Middle East?
The Sultanate has entered into a formal agreement with several film organisations of the Arab world to give a strong impetus to the local cinema movement.
“This agreement is perhaps a giant leap in making Omani cinema more meaningful and a valuable resource hub for all the countries of the Middle East,” said Dr Khalid Al Zadjali, Chairman of the Muscat International Film Festival (MIFF) and the Oman Film Society, after signing the agreement.
The agreement was one of the highlights of the grand finale that marked the close of the Eighth Muscat International Film Festival that was held under the auspices of HE Dr Abdulmunim Bin Mansour Al Hasani, Minister of Information, at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel on Saturday.
Al Zadjali said the MIFF was a great opportunity for foreign filmmakers to shoot movies in Oman.
“We don’t have a film industry but over the years, the number of films shot in Oman has seen a marked increase. By hosting this film festival, our aim is to spread the culture of cinema. This year, we have had the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Information and it has gone a long way in strengthening our objectives and goals,” he added.
Al Zadjali said efforts to build bridges of communication and cooperation with fellow filmmakers from the world of Arab cinema will continue.
In the Feature Film section, Indian actor Mammootty and Egyptian star Nabila Obaid were presented with the Golden Khanjar for their outstanding contribution to the growth of cinema in their respective countries.
“I’m overwhelmed by this great honour and I wish I knew Arabic so that I could express my feelings better,” Mammootty said in his acceptance speech. “It is a great honour for my country to receive this award from Oman.”
Golden, silver and bronze khanjars were awarded for the best film, direction, cinematography, male actor, female actor and script at the end of the closing ceremony. Awards were also given for Omani short films and documentaries.