American investor ups the ante for Saudi film industry


Saudi Gazette

THE author of "The Pursuit of Happyness", a New York Times and Washington Post best seller, was one of the speakers at the two-day Misk Global Forum 2017, which discussed new developments and challenges young Saudis meet with in various sectors.

The book by Christopher P. Gardener, an American author, investor, stockbroker, motivational speaker and philanthropist, has been translated into more than 40 languages and is currently being translated into Arabic. It also inspired a movie by the same name, for which actor Will Smith received a Golden Globe for his performance in the lead role. Saudi Gazette met with Chris Gardner to talk about his expectations of the film industry in the Kingdom.

"This is a very exciting time in Saudi Arabia, one of the most exciting places on the planet where changes are happening, opportunities are being created, platforms are being expanded, and all this under the prince of the youth, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman," he said.

"Saudi Arabia is working on expanding its film industry by offering places for film makers to show their work. That is a great step forward. Movies are something people watch to have fun; movies reshape people's way of thinking and culture," he added.

When asked about the challenge before the global movie industry of creating something different at a time most film makers fall in the trap of repetitive ideas and scenarios, Gardner said: "It happens everywhere. Scriptwriters and filmmakers repeat the same idea over and over again till something fresh breaks through. If it happens in Hollywood it can also happen here in Riyadh."

In order to have a strong movie industry that is able to compete globally, there must be some successful factors, he said.

"You should be playing at the top of your game, you should be passionate, committed, think in terms of really good films. Do not overthink money, because if you thank about money, you will have no time to focus on making really good movies. Whereas, if you think of making something different and creative, you will direct all your efforts into making a remarkable movie. Remarkable movies do make money," Gardner explained.

Gardner believes another success factor is telling real stories. "Write about something that people can relate too. Do not repeat your ideas and scenarios. The world is full of great, interesting and authentic stories we can talk about in our movies and let people relate to, enjoy and at the same time have a great experience," he said.