11th Asian Film Festival kicks off in Jeddah


Saudi Gazette

— The 11th ACGC Asian Film Festival celebrating Asian cinema and culture kicked off with a screening of a popular Indonesian movie at the Indonesian consul general's residence Monday night.

The Asian Consuls General Club (ACGC) is organizing the public screening of various genres of films from eight Asian countries during the festival, which ends on Feb.11.

The annual festival was launched a little over a decade ago, but this year "brings significance, as cinemas will be reopened in the Kingdom", the Consul General of Indonesia Mohamad Hery Saripudin said, while addressing diplomats and the local community during the opening ceremony.

"It's a progress deemed very important for cultural exchanges and it further boosts understanding between peoples and nations," he said.

The Consulate General of Republic of Korea is this year's ACGC Coordinating Mission of the film festival, which is presenting a line-up of record-breaking and critically acclaimed film titles from Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Korea, Bangladesh and Japan.

"As the only events of its kind that celebrates Asian cultures, traditions and their diversity in the western part of the Kingdom, the Asian Film Festival has become a unique platform for cultural exchange between Saudi Arabia and Asian countries," said Korean Consul General in Jeddah Youn Ho Kang, as he inaugurated the event.

"I hope that the Asian Film Festival will provide an excellent opportunity to introduce the diversity of Asian cultures, and also their similarities with the Arab culture, to our friends and audience here in Jeddah," he said in his opening remarks.

"Likewise, cultural exchanges like this film festival have great potential to foster genuine conversations between people. And these sincere efforts would enable all of us to discover that we all stand together on the common grounds of mutual respect, equality and peace," he continued.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Ho Kang said movies allow an opportunity for the general public to learn more about culture.

"Asia has close neighbors and there are similarities and differences between the cultures. By viewing Asia through eight different lenses, people who are not familiar with the Asian culture will be able to realize that Asia is a region of great diversity, full of passion and as well as human sentiment," he said.

Commenting on the introduction of movie theaters in the Kingdom, he said it was a step that would make society more vibrant amid positive and brighter changes, promoting genuine conversation between people.

The opening film, "Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck" directed by Sunil Soraya in 2013, tells a story of love and cultural conflicts in Indonesian society during the Dutch colonization in the 1930s.