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Cairo: Saudi Arabia will set up an investment fund to support filmmaking in the Arab world, a Saudi official has disclosed.

Head of the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment (GAE) Turki Al Alsheikh said the Big Time Fund will be geared towards upgrading the Arab content in producing, distributing and making films featuring leading actors in the Arab world.

GAE will contribute to the envisaged fund as a major sponsor and the Saudi Culture Ministry as a co-sponsor along with a group of specialised entertainment firms, the official said without disclosing the exact capital of the facility.

The contracted companies will also have the latitude to produce films outside the scope of the fund, according to the official.

In its first phase, the fund aims to invest in making Saudi, Gulf and other Arab films, Alsheikh said during a visit to Egypt, traditionally dubbed the Hollywood of the Arab world.

The entertainment industry has thrived in Saudi Arabia in recent years. Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its oil-reliant economy and attract more foreign visitors.

In May 2016, the kingdom established GEA, a state agency that has since sponsored a slew of stellar concerts, stage shows and festivals. An annual flagship entertainment is the Riyadh Season, the current edition of which kicked off last October. As many as 17 million people were drawn to diverse events of the Riyadh Season, official figures recently showed.

Touted as an entertainment and tourist magnet, the festival offers a variety of choices for visitors comprising entertainment, fashion, electronic games, fine arts, handicrafts, cuisine and thematic zones.

The Season’s events are spread over 12 venues in Riyadh, featuring concerts by world celebrities, theatrical shows, and restaurants serving a variety of mouth-watering international cuisine.

Making its debut in 2019, the Riyadh Season is meant to turn the city into a global entertainment and tourist destination.