Three Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) were signed during the opening session of the Joy Forum19 event here on Sunday, which had a huge crowd of entertainment pioneers from around the world in attendance.
The event, organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), is part of a push to put Saudi Arabia on the global map as an entertainment industry leader.
The first agreement was signed by GEA Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh and Abdullah Al-Sawaha, the Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology; while the second pact was between GEA and King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. The third agreement was a financing guarantee program for small-and-medium enterprises.
Turki Al-Sheikh, during the opening event said: “Our message is for both, locally and internationally. Me and my generation suffered a lot, we had lots of time on our hands.”
“Today you are witnessing things we have never had in Saudi,” he said, “we have 300,000 visitors to our events and our sales have hit 80%.”
Al-Sheikh added that: “Saudi Arabia has never seen anything like Riyadh Season we have over 400 sponsors and this is unprecedented.”
The GEA head also beamed with pride regarding the results of the Saudi National Day festivities: “I am very pleased with the results of the Saudi National Day.”
Al-Sheikh also said they have named a stadium after singer Mohammed Abdo, also known as the The Artist of Arabs, and also another after singer Abu Baker Salim, who is acknowledged as the father of Khaleeji music. “We also bought 42 rides from Winter Wonderland,” Al-Sheikh said.
Actor Jihad Atrash, who did the voice over for Grendizer, said during the opening discussions: “When we started our work in Lebanon a longtime ago in it was a time that Lebanon was at war, grendizer had a noble story to tell.”
“This animation was a call to be proud of Lebanon and their work and subbing the program for the Arab World. First of all the idea of what you are seeing now in entertainment, we are tools by our leader implementing his plan.”
Lebanese actor and TV dubber Wahid Jalal, who was the voice of John Silver of Treasure Island, also joined onstage during the opening event and and had this to say: “Children love heroes and they try to imitate them, in the past years we used to do voice overs for these movies animations.”
He also regaled the crowd by doing another impersonation of Silver’s famous laughter.