The Jeddah Film Festival Canceled

07.21.09

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No happy ending for Saudi film festival

By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst

Directors, writers and cinema buffs had arrived in Jeddah for what had been billed as a week-long festival of films from Saudi Arabia and neighboring states.

The festival was due to begin on Saturday. But an hour before midnight on Friday the organizers were told by the Jeddah municipality to cancel it.

The only official explanation was that the event had not been sufficiently prepared.

But it is widely believed the ban is the latest victory for religious conservatives, who regard cinema as a form of Western moral pollution.

Jeddah – the Red Sea city which is also the Saudi business hub – has long been more liberal and open than the desert capital, Riyadh.

Its film festival started in 2006, as a conscious attempt by Saudi liberals to push the boundaries of cultural freedom.

– via BBC NEWS (read the full story)

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