The second phase of the AlUla Creates program, a platform aimed at fostering creativity and empowering the future generations of Saudi Arabia, was announced during the 76th Cannes Film Festival. The mentor for this round was revealed to be Hollywood actress Katie Holmes, who is well-known for her directing, acting, and producing abilities. The program focuses on promoting and nurturing rising female talent in the Kingdom, and a panel discussion on May 18 shed light on its objectives.
Katie Holmes, Charlene Deleon-Jones from Film AlUla, programme ambassador and model Eva Herzigova, and Saudi actress and ambassador Mila Al-Zahrani participated in the discussion panel. Deleon-Jones expressed the significance of selecting Holmes, emphasizing her experience and understanding of the film community. Holmes had shown a keen interest in collaborating with young Saudi women, making her a perfect fit for the role.
The second phase of the program is devoted to the film industry's fashion component. The filmmaking mentor program will then be introduced in order to promote and elevate young female Saudi talent by giving them access to the appropriate resources and training. Three filmmakers will be mentored by Holmes and the AlUla Creates team, who will help them investigate sites in the desert terrain of AlUla and develop an idea for a short film. The best idea will be chosen for production early next year.
During the panel, Holmes expressed her inspiration from the young population of Saudi Arabia and their creative ideas. She mentioned her eagerness to listen, shape, and provide her thoughts to help bring these stories to life. As an outsider, she expressed excitement in understanding the unique experiences of Saudi women and contributing to their artistic journey.
Alec Maxwell, the creator of Kloss Films, the British Fashion Council, and fashion luminaries Helena Christensen and Eva Herzigova served as ambassadors for the program's first phase, which was introduced earlier in March. The long-term mission of the platform is to support the film sector in Saudi Arabia by nurturing local talent while also contributing to the socio-economic development of the AlUla region.
Mila Al-Zahrani emphasized that actors, painters, authors, and fashion designers have all benefited from the creative and stimulating location of AlUla. The AlUla Creates program aims to bring together these creative disciplines, as actors require the collaboration of fashion designers to create characters that reflect their identities and experiences.