MBC ACADEMY's latest graduation event held on the sidelines of Cannes Film Festival
Posted on 2024 May,25

MBC ACADEMY, the educational and training platform by MBC GROUP that discovers, upskills, and fosters Saudi and regional talent in the media and production space, announces the graduation of its latest cohort of talented students, with a grand ceremony held on the sidelines of the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival.

The ceremony was held at the Université Côte d'Azur’s Campus Georges Méliès, MBC ACADEMY’s latest graduation event saw the honouring of 30 students from its prestigious scholarship programme.

Celebrating the achievements of 15 acting students and 15 filmmaking students from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region – who have completed their intensive training in the heart of the film industry – the momentous event included the screening of a year-in-review video, including BTS footage, showreels, adverts, and short films by the students, followed by speeches by various representatives.

The event concluded with a cocktail reception and gala dinner at the Pullman Cannes Mandelieu.

Zeinab Abu Alsamh, General Manager of MBC STUDIOS KSA and CEO of MBC ACADEMY, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to celebrate our latest filmmaker’s scholarship students. These immensely talented individuals – studying either filmmaking or acting – have embraced the incredible opportunity to be present at the Cannes Film Festival 2024. Driven by their passion and dedication, I am confident that our graduates are making the most of this experience by forging connections and pursuing potential opportunities that could lead to exciting collaborations and successful projects in the future.”

She continued: “Here at MBC ACADEMY, we are very proud of their accomplishments. Our latest programme wouldn’t have been complete without the support of our partners, ESRA and Generation 2030, who have both played a crucial role in nurturing these students, offering them top quality training, guidance, and project development and facilitation.

“I am greatly optimistic that in a few years, we will see some of these students presenting their work themselves at the Cannes Film Festival. This graduation ceremony served as a unique ‘home away from home’ hub where local, regional, and global creatives, producers, and filmmakers converged.”

MBC ACADEMY’s latest scholarship programme attracted over 400 applicants, out of which 30 exceptional students were selected. These students embarked on an enriching journey, culminating in today’s graduation ceremony, marking a significant milestone in their professional careers.

MBC ACADEMY’s partners for this latest round of graduates were ESRA (École Supérieure de Réalisation Audiovisuelle) and Generation 2030.

Founded in 1972, ESRA Group stands as Europe’s leading private institution in film education, offering theoretical and practical training in film, television, sound, music, and animation. With campuses in Paris, Nice, Cannes, Rennes, Brussels, and partnerships in New York and China, ESRA has nurtured numerous industry professionals among its 2,000 current students and over 9,000 alumni.

The collaboration with ESRA provided MBC ACADEMY students with unparalleled access to top-tier resources and mentorship.

On his part, Thierry Collard, Director of ESRA Côte d’Azur commented: “It is a privilege for ESRA Côte d'Azur to have welcomed in Cannes, for the first time, 30 Saudi students in Acting and Film Making. The creative training was developed with ESRA know how established both in France and internationally with our branches in China and the US. This has enabled us to discover a young generation of Saudi actors and film makers, full of creativity and tenacity. The whole ESRA team is happy to have contributed to strengthen the ties between our two countries and to have achieved these programmes.”

Generation 2030, meanwhile, is a French association established in 2019 which aims to foster cultural and social bridges between France and Saudi Arabia by bringing together young talents from diverse backgrounds. 

Through various training programmes in cinema, animation, design, culinary arts, archaeology, sports, and female leadership, Generation 2030 has organised eight projects involving over 120 trainees since 2022. Their on-ground support was instrumental in the success of the MBC ACADEMY scholarship programme.

Soha Alharbi, Chairwoman of Generation 2030, added: "Since its establishment, Generation 2030 has taken part in the growth of the young Saudi cinema and its dynamic. The association facilitates the development and implementation of training programmes between French cinema schools and stakeholders of the Saudi Audiovisual industry such as MBC GROUP. We are delighted of the result of this unique programme, which trains the next generation of Saudi talents."

Since its launch in 2022, MBC ACADEMY has offered specialised training programmes in various fields, including 3D character animation in collaboration with Gobelins School in Paris. The 2023/2024 academic year expanded to include disciplines in acting and filmmaking, with training held at ESRA campuses in Cannes and Nice.

Notable alumni so far include Reham Yashar, who is now a character creator at a game development company. Graduate Muzoon Albogomi authored a story animated by MBC ACADEMY for the “Hakawati Nation” show. Hussain Alqurrous is another graduate who is credited with creating “Do It”, a short animation film featured in several international film festivals.