Guy Ritchie Talks Festivals & Feeling “Comfortable” In The Middle East –

After Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival begins in Jeddah, a parallel film program is underway in the small desert town of Alula, 300 miles to the north.

Located in the northwestern region of the kingdom, Alula County is the center of the Saudi government’s efforts to attract local and international productions to shoot in its untouched wilderness and vast valley that is home to two mountain ranges, three volcanoes. And is home to UNESCO. The World Heritage Site of Hegra, where caught up with writer-director Guy Ritchie.


Richie is among a large delegation of Hollywood names who traveled the country to the Red Sea this week and made their way to Alola. Other guests include actors Scott Eastwood, Lucy Hale and Henry Goulding.

The first major project to shoot in the Alola area was Anthony and Joe Russo’s war picture. cherryStarring Tom Holland. While the film was shot in the region for just three days, local officials told that establishing an industry that would facilitate production was a top priority for the country’s top leadership. In 2022, Film Alola, the regional cultural agency established by the Royal Commission for Alola, issued 155 film permits, up from 75 in 2021. Saudi Arabia only lifted its decades-long ban on cinema in 2017 as part of sweeping reforms to open up its society. and the economy.

Below, Guy Ritchie talks to about why he decided to travel to Saudi, what he thinks the role of a film festival should be, and his upcoming 2019 film series adaptation. Gentleman.

Advertisements You haven’t screened many of your films at festivals throughout your career, so why did you feel it necessary to come to Ahamar? And what do you think is the role of film festivals?


Richie: I think film festivals are important in the sense that film needs to be celebrated. The trick now is to put films out there that people want to watch. And if festivals can, in some way, encourage local talent, it will make them a more productive opportunity.

One of the reasons we are interested here is that it is new. And it feels exciting. Any place that’s growing this fast you can tell there’s creativity in the equation. And you want to encourage it as much as you can, especially when it’s in its infancy. You want to get him to his youth and then some sort of successful phenomenon where he can sustain himself. So visiting festivals in emerging markets is more interesting. I understand festivals in places that are unrecognized, so to speak, because they serve a purpose. I’m not sure I understand like the London Film Festival. I don’t know that I was invited there, and I never heard anything about it afterwards. So there is something more interesting about festivals in regions that have no tradition.


You don’t want to just keep repeating what everyone else around the world is doing. But if you can do things that actually make a difference and shake things up in the industry, I think that should be what a festival should be, as opposed to just being a business thing or boring old stuff. A group of filmmakers are going along. To show off your stuff. You shot Aladdin in Jordan, right? What interests you about the MENA region?

Guy Ritchie: I love the Middle East for all kinds of reasons: historical and religious. And increasingly, I just love the old world. The older the world, the more interested I am in it. I don’t know why I’m so comfortable in the Middle East. Does this mean you are increasingly anxious to return to the UK?


Richie: no. I am very patriotic. And I’m a big fan of English weather. What everyone sees as the rotten English weather, I love. However, it is great to get out of England. It’s just good to move. We found ourselves in Spain and Turkey in the last three years. We started making films abroad. And, I have to say, I really enjoy it.

DEADLINE: Your last three films have grossed more than $100 million at the box office. What do you think the industry should do to encourage Cinemagong?


Richie: I don’t know what anyone else should do, and I’m not one to give advice. You can only do what you are interested in doing. And the truth about filmmaking is that it’s good fun. So you feel like you owe the people who lend you or distribute the film some degree of return. So you want to make sure your movies work so you can make another movie. You have to be somewhat competitive in the sense that your films have to be financially successful. So I know those are the rules, and if you want to keep doing what you’re doing, you have to stick to those rules. What do you think have been the biggest changes in the industry since you started making films?

Richie: The sand moves so fast. You think you understand how the industry works and then you go on vacation for two weeks, come back, and the rules are different. So there’s really no point in trying to push the rules. In the end, it depends on whether you can create content, as long as you can create content, then there will be some way to express your creativity. And I’m not sure if I care about the specific distribution system, other than the fact that I’m familiar with the theater experience. And there seems to be some emotional component that comes with a 40-foot screen that you just can’t create on a 72-inch one. whatever. So you need theater experience. of the The theater experience. And it includes a 40-foot screen. Aladdin 2 What is going on with this movie? Is it in pre-production?

Richie: I have no idea, honestly. I have no idea if Aladdin 2 is in pre-production. Although you’re making a TV version of The Gentleman, right?

Richie: I am. That I know because I am in the middle of it. This is not your first TV show. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was adapted for the small screen and I know you said The Gentleman was originally written as a series...

Richie: Yes, it actually was. It was a movie and then a series. And then it went back to being a movie and now it’s back to TV. Lock stock I had nothing to do with the film. I will plead innocence when it comes to whatever that TV thing was. So how are you finding the process of making your first TV show?

Richie: I have to tell you, I’m enjoying it so much. I think it’s great. If you like The Gentlemanyou will like it.

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