Saudi Islamic university sends faculty member to study cinema in America

The move is seen as unprecedented in Saudi Arabia, where cinema theaters are not allowed

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An Islamic university in Saudi Arabia, where public movie theatres are banned, is sending a faculty member to study cinema in the United States in an unprecedented move in the country’s foreign study program.

Professor of media at the University of Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in the capital Riyadh, Ali al-Tameemi told Al that his university agreed to send him to America to study film production.

Al-Tameemi explains that after studying media in his native country, he decided to put his studies into practice by making a film, which he also starred in.

“The film tells the story of an employee working in the Saudi Cultural Attaché who blackmails students who are on scholarships in America asking them for bribes to finish their papers.”

While another Saudi-based university, King Saud, shut down its theater department, al-Tamimi says he does not anticipate the same happening at the school where he teaches.

“The Saudi society is now aware [of cinema] and YouTube has opened the door for a movie business in Saudi Arabia,” he says.

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