Cinema of Bahrain
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The cinema of Bahrain is small as its lacks government and the private sector support. There are many short films produced by individual filmmakers, and about 5 feature films in Bahrain's history.
There are a number of theaters in Bahrain showing a mix of Indian, American and Arabic movies. Bahrain also has a cinema club established in 1980, and The Bahraini Film Production Company, established in 2006 to support the Bahraini film industry.
The first attempt to create a movie theater in Bahrain was in 1922, by the Bahraini businessman Mahmood Lal Saati. He imported a projector and set up a makeshift cinema at a cottage on the north coast of Manama. The first official cinema to be established was by Abdulla Al Zayed and associates in Manama, in 1937. The cinema had no air-conditioning or heating system so the cinema was moved to an open-roofed building during the winter season with one of the walls being used as a screen. In 1939, the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, visited the cinema while on a diplomatic visit with the then-Hakim Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa.
During the 1930s and 1940s, films were in black and white with the majority of them being predominately Egyptian as well as some American films. The Tarzan and 'Cowboys and Red Indians' films were reported to have been very popular in the country. Initially, the introduction of cinemas drew criticism from elderly citizens who stated that it "would destroy traditional values".
Establishment of cinemas
In the 1950s and 1960s, eight new cinemas opened in Bahrain, including the Pearl Cinema, Al Hamra Cinema, Al Nasr Cinema and Awal Cinema, all of which were established in Manama. The first cinema to open in Muharraq was Al Jazira Cinema in 1955 and it is still in use today.
The first modern-style cinema to open in Bahrain was the Delmon Cinema at the Gosi Complex in 1996, but has since closed. The trend for modern-style cinemas was continued by the Bahrain Cinema Company, which opened cinema complexes at Seef Mall in 1998 and in Saar in 2000 respectively. An independent cinema, Dana Cinema, was opened at the Dana Mall in Manama, in 2002. A 20-screen cinema complex was constructed in the Bahrain City Centre, the largest such cineplex in the Middle East.
Films shot in Bahrain
- Ajnabee (2001) - an Indian film set in several countries including Bahrain
- Afghan Muscle (2006) - a Danish/Afghan feature-length documentary covering a group of Afghan bodybuilders who travel to the Middle East
- Cinema 500 km (2006) - a Saudi feature-length documentary about a young Saudi film fan who travels to Manama to attend a cinema, there being none in Saudi Arabia
- Nilavu (2010) - a Malayalam Indian film scripted and directed by Ajith Nair has been filmed in the Kingdom of Bahrain as well as in Kerala, India with a cast of newcomers.
- Khalifah Shaheen: considered the first Bahraini filmmaker.
- Bassam Al-Thawadi: Bassam made the 1st Bahraini feature film in 1990, his films include:
- Mohammed BuAli: one of the new generation of filmmakers, he started making short films in 2006. He is the most active filmmaker in the Bahraini scene now with many accomplishments since he started his filmmaking career:
- Hussain Al-Hulaibi : with theatre background Hussain made 2 feature films:
For Girls (2008), Longing (2010)
- Hussain Al-Riffaei: Hussain made three short films two written by Ameen Saleh:
Voices (2012), Dinner (2008), The Cage (2009)
- Zeeshan Jawed Shah: Zeeshan made three feature length films and is consider as pioneer of Student Film Projects:
- Torr, Rebecca (5 July 2005). "Book focuses on history of Bahrain's cinemas...". Gulf Daily News. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- Charles Belgrave, an adviser to the Bahraini government at the time, wrote in his memoirs that the older Bahraini population opposed the cinema because "they thought that young people would gamble and steal to raise money for a cinema ticket".
- "Bahrain Cinema History". Bahrain CINECO. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Bahrain City Centre opens for business". AMEinfo. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- The Hindu newspaper article covering the filming of 'A Bahraini Tale'
- A review of 'A Bahraini Tale'
- Official site for 'A Bahraini Tale'
- Official website for the Bahrain Cinema Club
- Article about the creation of the BFPC
- IMDB entry for Bahrain
- Bahrain's first International Horror Film "Dead Sands" in Daily Tribune
- Bahrain's first international horror film "Dead Sands" Official website
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