Imax and Saudi Arabia’s General Culture Authority today entered a memorandum of understanding to jointly seek opportunities to identify and develop local Imax-format films. The agreement is part of the GCA’s strategic efforts to develop a dynamic and sustainable film industry in the Kingdom.

Under a non-exclusive MOU, the GCA and Imax will look for opportunites to help Saudi studios and directors release films with cross-border appeal and eventually tap Imax’s global distribution platform to export their films to non-Arabic markets. Imax has already implemented this approach in markets like China and India, where it re-masters and distributes local-language blockbusters both in-country and to its wider global network.

On April 30, Imax opened its first commercial multiplex theater together with VOX Cinemas in Riyadh, with the debut timed to the release of Avengers: Infinity War. The company expects to build 15-20 theaters in Saudi over the coming years.

Imax will also explore the establishment of a film-technology lab to train and work with Saudi filmmakers on Imax-format documentaries and Arabic-language films that showcase the Kingdom’s geography, culture and heritage, as well as the filmmakers themselves.

GCA CEO Ahmad Al-Maziad said, “GCA’s mandate is to preserve, protect, enrich and promote our country’s cultural sector by nurturing our cultural talent, supporting cultural diversity and celebrating Saudi identity through the arts. We are excited to explore potential collaboration and partnership with Imax, which already has an established presence in the Kingdom, to provide a platform to support, showcase and engage with the Kingdom’s creative talent and increase opportunities to share our wealth of stories in new formats both locally and globally.”

Imax CEO Rich Gelfond added, “We look forward to working with GCA to bring our decades of global expertise in immersive entertainment to bear in support of its development of a sustainable and dynamic film industry in the Kingdom in line with the country’s broader Vision 2030 objectives. We are hopeful that this is just the first step in a long-term collaboration with GCA to establish Saudi Arabia as a global hub for film production and technology.”