To achieve that, she established a company to develop the educational aspect of the film industry, by organizing training and introductory arts workshops. She is also a co-founder of the “Her Films Community”, which helps develop talents and raises awareness about film studies.
Animation Film Study
The director and academic Hala Alhaid, 27, is another young Saudi woman who studied cinema abroad.
Alhaid began her cinematic journey while studying audiovisual media at King Saud University. As an amateur, she used her mobile phone to learn animation techniques and participated in Arab film festivals.
After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she moved to the United States to attend a training course at the New York Film Academy in animation techniques, at her personal expense. Later on, she was sent by King Saud University to study a master’s in digital arts, at the Pratt Institute in New York. She was the first student in the kingdom’s history to be sent by an academic institution to study this specialty.
Alhaid, who is a teaching assistant at King Saud University, told Al-Fanar Media that she aspires to develop the animated film industry to see Saudi examples in it, and for it not to be limited to men. Through teaching animation, Alhaid seeks to change curricula and invent ways to enhance students’ abilities.
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“Curriculum planning and teaching methods need to be changed,” she said. “The teaching method abroad depends on analysis, criticism, and student research. The main problem here lies in the lack of a practical side, while focusing on research.”
Alhaid’s animated film “The Palm Witch” has been shown in several Arab film festivals. She is currently working on directing a feature film.
Diversification of Scholarship Programmes
Hana Al-Omair, chairwoman of the first Saudi Cinema Association, acknowledges the “great change” resulting from art scholarship programmes that allow young people to gain experience in the film industry.
Al-Omair, who has supervised similar training workshops, told Al-Fanar Media: “The continuity of such programmes is necessary. Making use of workshops outside the kingdom is more beneficial than bringing mentors from abroad.”
Al-Omair also advises diversifying study programmes to include new fields, such as film production, set design, and sound engineering, and to include all study levels.